Do you live in Pakistan and want to apply for a Schengen visa? If so, read the whole piece carefully to find out how to get a Schengen visa in Pakistan and what you need to do.
One of the most important visas for travelers like me is the Schengen visa. Because this visa opens up the huge Schengen area, which includes 26 countries and 4.3 million square kilometers of land. After being turned down twice by Italy, I was finally able to get this important sticker from the Netherlands. I will tell you what it was like and how to get a visa.
Why my Schengen Visa was Refused before?
In March 2017, I went through Gerry’s to get a Schengen visa at the Italy office in Karachi. I gave them all the papers they needed and told them why they were coming. Before I filled out that application, I had been to the US and had a good US visa with multiple entries. I have also been to many other countries.
I was asked to come in for an interview at the consulate and was asked things like what I do for a living and how much money I make. I was also asked why I was there.
I told them I was going on vacation to Rome and Milan to see famous places. I did not know the names of the places to see in Rome that they asked me about. So, they did not let me get a visa. I could not make the visa officer happy because I did not give him a thorough itinerary with the names of the places we were going.
I tried again in October 2018 at the same consultant in Italy. This time, I told them why and gave them a specific schedule and more supporting documents, like property and business papers. But it was shocking that Italy turned down my second application in just 5 days. I was shocked to get a straight “no” answer.
After that, I looked for answers on the Internet and found that 95% of them did not apply for at least two years after the first two rejections. Even some experts in Europe told me not to apply again because it would be turned down. but I tried again and got the visa from the Netherlands.
Also Read: Pakistani Passport Visa Free Countries List
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa from Pakistan?
If your country is part of the Schengen area deal, you can apply for a Schengen visa through a visa application center in your country. I used Gerry’s in Karachi, Pakistan, to send in my application.
Germany, Austria, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Poland, Sweden, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Malta are all part of the Schengen Area.
You can ask for a Schengen visa in any of the above-mentioned countries, and if you get one, you will be able to visit all of them. But if you are not sure which Schengen country to apply for a visa in, there is a simple rule you can follow.
Apply to the Schengen country where you will spend most of your time during your trip. That is called the main goal in the Schengen area. If your days are the same, you can apply to the Schengen country you will enter first.
But this is not a strict rule. If you have a current Schengen visa, you can enter and leave any Schengen country. But if you want to get a visa in the future, you should use your Schengen visa to enter the country you listed on your application and leave from any other country. There is no problem with that at all.
Required Documents for Schengen visa in Pakistan
I will tell you exactly what papers I sent with my third Schengen visa application and why I want to visit. These are the general requirements for a Schengen visa, but some embassies have a slightly different process. For example, Italy asks for one original set of documents and one copy of the full list of documents. The Netherlands, on the other hand, does not need a copy of the whole application.
Here is the list of the exact documents required and which I submitted with my Schengen visa application to the Netherlands:
- 1) Application form filled and printed
- 2) Two Photographs
- 3) Passport
- 4) Bank Statement of 6 months
- 5) Flight reservation (not paid)
- 6) Hotel Booking (not paid)
- 7) Employment Letter
- 8) Leave Certificate from Employer
- 9) Last 3 Months Salary Slips
- 10) Medical Insurance coverage of $50,000
- 11) Family Registration Certificate (FRC)
- 12) Passport copy + copies of all past visas & stamps
- 13) CNIC photocopy
- 14) Covering letter with day-to-day activities of the trip
- 15) NTN certificate & last 3 years’ tax returns
Twenty days after I sent in my application, I got it back. I asked for an 8-day stay and a single-entry visa, but they gave me a 30-day stay and a multiple-entry visa instead. This gives me time to see the beauty of the Netherlands and a few other Schengen countries.
Also Read: How to Apply for Malaysia Visa in Pakistan
My Tips for Getting a Schengen Visa in Pakistan
Duration of your Trip
Since getting a Schengen visa for the first time is one of the hardest things to do, I would recommend making a short, clear, and easy-to-understand plan based on your income and financial situation. Do not put too many countries on your first application. Instead, plan a trip to just one or two Schengen countries. Once you have your visa, you can change your plans if you want to go to more countries. I had the same visa and went to 15 countries.
Time of the Year to Apply
Apply early. You can officially apply for a Schengen visa three months before you plan to travel. Try to apply when the embassy or consulate is not as busy, so they have time to look over your application. European offices around the world are very busy in May, June, and July because that is when they get more applications than usual.
Make Travel History
If you are going for tourism, first try to visit other popular tourist countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan, Turkey, etc. This will show that you are a real tourist and usually travel out of your country for tourism. With a Pakistani passport, you can go to countries where you do not need a visa. This is a good way to travel on a budget.
Make Strong Financial & Professional Background
Last but not least, keep your financial data clean and clear. For example, if you have a job, you should keep your pay stubs with you and have your salary put into your bank account in the right way, such as by having a company check deposited into your account. If you have savings in your bank account that are not from your income, you should tell the embassy in your cover letter. This will help them understand your financial situation better. That is like telling your story to your teacher, who should believe you.
After being turned down twice, I finally got a Schengen visa, and I can not wait to go to the European Union. I also learned that if you try again and again, you can do anything. When you apply again, make your case stronger and better. I will say that if a Schengen country turns you down for a visa, do not try again with that country. Instead, try a bigger Schengen country.