Visa is an official document required before you visit a country permanently or temporarily. This is a proof that you are allowed to enter the country after proper checks. Applying for a visa for a country can be a daunting task and hence here is an exhaustive guide to tell you how to apply for a visa.
There are several Types of visas depending on your purpose of travel to the country.
- Tourist visa
- Business visa
- Transit visa
- Medical visa
- Study visa
- Multiple entry visa
- Work visa
You can apply for a visa both online and offline mode. The visa process and fee varies from country to country.
Do I need to apply for a visa?
Every country has a list of countries that are exempted from a visa or have a visa on arrival. First, check if your destination country requires you to have a visa for entering.
Here is a list of countries that provide Visa on Arrival or no visa for Indians. This also has a list of countries where you can apply for an e-visa.
Process to apply for Visa
There are countries which give visa-free entry to certain citizens. Visa on Arrival is also issued based on the rules and guidelines of the country you are entering. Do a quick check on what kind of visa you are eligible for before applying.
Basic Guidelines on how to apply for a visa of any country:
- Type of visa – Check what kind of visa you need based on your requirements.
- Eligibility – Check if you are eligible to apply for a visa to that country.
- Apply – Fill the application form either online or offline. If you are applying offline, you need to fill it and drop it to the concerned consulate of the nation.
- Interview – Some countries require you to be present for face to face interviews. You need to book an appointment and show up with the required documents.
- Dispatch – Once the visa is approved, wait for your passport to be dispatched to you with the visa.
Basic Requirements for a visa application
To apply for a visa, you’ll need to fill in the form with relevant documents attached. Although the requirements may vary depending on what country you are traveling to, here are some basic document requirements.
- Passport with a validity of 6 months
- Name and DOB Govt ID proof
- A detailed itinerary
- Return flight tickets
- Contact address in the destination country.
- Bank statements to show sufficient balance.
- HR Letter
How to Apply for a visa online?
Few countries allow you to apply for an e-visa, which saves you the trouble of going to the embassy to fill in the forms.
Go to the respective destination country site. Search for e-visa and check your eligibility. If you’re eligible, follow these steps:-
- Download the e-visa form.
- Fill up the relevant details and submit online.
- Pay e-visa fee online.
- Receive ETA online through email.
- Print ETA and present it at the immigration of the destination country.
- e-Visa will be stamped to your passport on entrance.
How to Apply for a Schengen visa?
A Schengen visa can be applied to gain access to 26 member countries which are part of the Schengen agreement. The Schengen area allows unrestricted movement of goods, activities and people within the internal borders as part of the agreement.
All residents of Indian and people from other nationalities currently residing in India are allowed to apply for a Schengen visa.
Know In-Depth: How to get your Schengen visa from India?
The complete application form along with the required documents needs to be submitted by the consulate of the country you are entering from or where you’re spending the maximum number of days.
List of documents needed to apply for a Schengen visa
- Two photographs as per guidelines mentioned in the application form.
- Copies of the previous visa if applicable and applicant’s passport with a validity of 3 months after the return date.
- Travel insurance coverage of €30,000 valid across the Schengen area.
- Cover letter stating the purpose of visit and a detailed itinerary.
- Flight details with entry and exit dates, flight numbers etc.
- Accommodation proof. Name of hostels/hotels or relative’s address whichever is applicable.
- Marital status details.
- Bank statements as proof of funds to cover the trip expenses.
- Employed professionals need to submit Employment contract, current bank statement of latest 6 months, leave permission from your employer, Income Tax Return (ITR) form, etc.
- Self-employed individuals should submit a copy of their business license in India, company bank statement of the latest 6 months, and Income Tax Return (ITR).
- If you’re a student, No object certificate and proof of enrollment from school are required.
- Retired personnel need to submit pension statement if last 6 months.
Schengen visa fee
To apply for a Schengen visa a non-refundable fee is paid. The amount depends based on the type of visa and applicant’s country.
Some visa categories are exempt from paying the fee.
Fee is waived off for people under the age of 25 going to attend seminars, conferences, cultural events hosted by non-profit organizations.
In case the visa is rejected, the fee is non-refundable.
Steps to Apply for a Schengen visa
- Type of Visa – Figure out what type of Schengen visa you need.
- Where to Apply – Depending on how your destination country has laid down rules for your country of residence, you need to either apply in an embassy, consulate or a visa centre. If you’re visiting only one Schengen country, file your application at the embassy/consulate of that country. On the other hand, if you’re visiting multiple countries, file application in the country you will be spending maximum time. If the time is equally divided, you can fill in the application at the embassy of the country you are entering from.
- When to Apply – You can apply as early as three months from the date of traveling. And at least 15 days before you plan to travel. The ideal time is to apply three weeks before you plan to start.
- Take Appointment – You need to book an appointment online or in-person depending on the country you are residing in.
- Application Form – Fill out the application form with all the required details.
- Required Documents – Gather all the required set of documents before going in for an interview.
- Visa Interview – Be present in time for the interview. Be firm and clear with your answers and have all the documents ready.
- Visa Fee – Pay the fee according to your visa type and resident country.
- Wait for an Answer – The status of the visa application should be told in 2-3 weeks maximum. If your application gets rejected and you feel that it’s a mistake, you can always appeal the visa rejection.
How to Apply for an H1B visa
What’s an H1B visa?
H1B visa allows United States companies to employ foreign workers in pre-arranged professional jobs. It’s mandatory for the individual who is applying to have a minimum of Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. USCIS decides if an individual is qualified to perform the services. The employer needs to fill the labor condition application with the Department of Labor concerning the terms and conditions of the contract with the individual.
The visa is valid if three years with a one-time extension of three years applicable. Thus, the maximum stay cannot exceed beyond six years for an individual.
How to get H1B visa?
There are a maximum of 65000 regular H1B visas that can be issued in a year out of which 6800 are reserved for citizens of Chile and Singapore.
Because of strict limits, the visas are issued on a lottery basis. Even if you are qualified to get a visa there is no guarantee that you’ll get one.
The Application window to apply for an H1B visa is fixed, which usually starts from the 1st of April until the quota is met.
How to Apply for an H1B visa?
An individual cannot apply for H1B visa. The company has to file an H1B visa petition with the US Department of Homeland Security. Once the petition gets approved, one can apply for the visa at the US consulate/Embassy. Make sure you have all the required documents before appearing for a visa interview. Book your appointment online and get an appointment at the earliest date.
Pay the visa application fee.
H1B visa Interview process
- Book an Appointment – Arrive at the consulate/Embassy on the appointment date. Only people with visa appointments are allowed in hence you will be asked to present your appointment letter, passport and visa application fee receipt.
- Security Check – There are several items that are not allowed inside the embassy. You’ll be asked to submit them at the entrance.
- Fingerprint verification – Collect your token for visa interview. Your fingerprints are verified against the ones taken at VAC (Visa Application Centre). Post this keep all your documents ready and wait for the interview call.
- Interview – Your visa application is reviewed by the official, followed up by some questions regarding your visit.
- Wait for Visa status – Your visa if approved, will be delivered to you within 3-4 days. If your visa is rejected, you shall be informed, and passport will be handed back to you.
Suggested Read: Australian Visa For Indians: A complete guide