Fall Break Trip Planning: Getting Our Schengen Visa 2

To read the first part of this blog series, just click this link.

Last 2 September, we had our appointment booked to appear at the visa processing center here in Tbilisi. My husband and I had to appear, together with our daughter who had to make an appearance as well. She’s 14 years old. My other two children, ages 6 and 4, did not have to make an appearance and are exempted from paying the Schengen visa. Anyway, we came at the appointed time with papers in hand and our passports for submission. In Tbilisi, VFS Global handles the Schengen visa processing so we just had to make our appearance in their office. 

When submitting documents, make sure you have the following:

  1. Printed application form (check with the embassy website you’re planning to visit as some of them had a computerized application form. Handwritten forms are a no-go)
  2. Picture glued on the application form, not stapled
  3. Signed application form (both parents must sign for minors)
  4. Passport with at least two empty pages
  5. Proof of employment (recent employment certificate, pay slips, or recent employment contract)
  6. Means of subsistence or proof of sufficient funds to support travel, which depends on the country you want to visit (more information here)
  7. Flight ticket reservation (not paid tickets–you can ask your local travel agency to do this for you for a fee)
  8. Accommodations reservation (I use Booking.com as they don’t charge until you have reached their deadline. Note of advice: read the fine print! Make sure you are booking a hotel and clicking “pay when you stay”, not the non-refundable ones)
  9. Travel insurance – for Latvia, it is the duration of your trip PLUS 15 days. For example, we are staying for 5 days you have to buy insurance for 20 days.
  10. If you are not coming back to your home country, make sure that you have proof to enter that country i.e. residency visa
  11. Payment (adults pay about 65 EUR plus 15 EUR for processing)

For minors:

  1. Passport
  2. Birth certificate (Bring the actual birth certificate, but provide photocopies. The visa person will stamp your photocopy “seen authentic document”.)
  3. Proof that they are enrolled in school, like a certificate of enrollment from the registrar or principal’s office
  4. If not going back to home country, then proof of residency from the return country
  5. Another note for minors on their application form, just choose other for cost of travelling for applicant’s stay and write parents (this is very important)
  6. Depending on the minor’s age, they can get the visa for free or half of the actual visa fee

When submitting your application, make sure you do it per application with the supporting documents. I submitted my documents first so my application form and all the other supporting documents are under them. That means for your child, he/she must have travel insurance/airline ticket reservation under his/her name or that your hotel booking is enough for you and your group. Make sure you have sufficient copies for everyone in your group or family.

Since we applied as a family, we were handed a piece of paper that I needed to fill in with all our names in our group. This helped them see how many people are actually applying for the visa together. VFS Global also placed all our passports, documents, and biometrics in one envelope.

We waited for nine business days and received a text about claiming our passports. We didn’t know whether or not we have our visas. As we were in queue, the person in front of us received her passport and an A4 paper with the heading REFUSAL. That really scared us!

We got them, though, and feel really lucky that we can bring the kids to Western Europe. I hope the information helped for those who need to apply for Schengen visas with their family.

On to our next adventure!

Happy travels!

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