Schengen Visa in 24 Hours!

Wow! I never thought I’d say this, but the French are good at processing Visas. It has been a long time since I’ve needed a Schengen Visa since I’ve had one on my passport for 5 years already. However, the Visa expired late last year, and I ended up making plans for a quick trip to the Schengen Zone, so I figured I had to apply. Since the trip is not related to my office, I did not want to bother them with filing it for me.

On the other hand, the plan only got made on Monday, and I had to ensure I had a visa by Friday (today!). So I went through with preparing paperwork. Last December, the French have moved to getting Visa forms filled up online. I filled up the usual 2-page document on the required page france-visas.gouv.fr/. Then, I made an appointment with the VFS portal. Lucky for me, there was an appointment available the next day, i.e., Tuesday.

French Visa website

As of 2015, the French Embassy had made their turnaround time for Indian passport holders to be issued a Schengen Visa to be 48 hours. However, this was the first time I was going to be able to test it.

I arrived at the VFS application centre in Mumbai ahead of time and was admitted after the usual security checks. After a long wait, I was at a window to submit my documentation. But amidst everything else going on, I had forgotten to bring a couple of documents. The VFS team explained that they’d have to make an observation that this was an incomplete application and they could still send it over. Sucking it up, I was sent back to fetch them, and I paid a princely sum of INR 150 to hire a computer and make prints downstairs.

Subsequently, I went back up, waited more and finally came to the window a second time. I explained I could get everything except one piece of paper, which I’d have to go home to bring and that I was willing to file the application with the other papers to see what happened. I was very sensitive to the timeline, given the VFS chaps kept insisting that sending the application on Wednesday would cut it very fine (it’d arrive at the Consulate on Thursday!). I signed the relevant declaration as well.

The VFS team marked my application Urgent having a look at my ticket, and I was on my way. What happened subsequently was something very impressive. Without charging me extra money for the application tracking, I kept getting an update on how the file was moving, and eventually, the application was up for consideration the next day itself and came back to the VFS office in Mumbai by the end of Wednesday.

Schengen Visa process

Thursday morning I got a text alert to pick up my passport, which I did the first thing in the morning. I was very impressed that a decision was made within 24 hours by the consulate. However, I was disappointed with the result. With someone who has held long-tenure Schengen circulation Visas in the past, I had only been given a 1-month Visa.

Anyhow, kudos to the French Consulate for upping their game and processing the Visa within such a finite timeline.

What has been your experience with the Schengen Visa processing timelines?

Comments

  1. Hi
    I received that my passport has been dispatched email on 02-Jul-2019 but then received an email from VFS Global on 03-Jul-2019 morning requesting more documentation. What does it mean? does anyone had this situation?

  2. I am a seafarer and I stay out of India for more than 183 days as a result of which my Income becomes tax free. Due to short stays in India I have not applied for an IT return. Will this be a challenge to obtain a tourist visa?

  3. How fast I can get schengen France visa ?
    Can I apply through premium service to get it faster ?

    Can some one guide me

    • Premium Srvice doesnt guarantee you faster visa processig, VFS will assign a dedicated associate for you and provide you with Photocopies and give you Cool Drinks refreshment etc. I think premium service will help you get appointment next day, but it is not needed as you will need sometime to get the documents ready

      You can get Visa if you have all the documents proper and if you show means of subsistence. In my case I showed 5 lakh Bank Balance and a consistent account statement after booking air ticket stay inter country transport etc.

      Please get these documents ready

      1. Passport

      2. Round trip Airticket (It is not mandated in thec checklist but I booked ticket without knowling this, its a orginal fully paid ticket)

      2a. Internal Transfer tickets – Train ticket Airticket (We plan to cover Paris, Swiss and Belgium)

      3. Hotel Bookings (AirBnb is also accepted as opposed to basic travel agent sayings)

      4. 3 Months Salary slip

      5. Leave letter from company – I did not recieve this from my company as they told me the process is automated, so I took a print screen of the approval dates from Oracle Time and Leave and submitted that)

      6. I did not submit NOC from employer as my company does not have a policy of NOC and they told me they discontinued giving NOC

      7. Employment Certificate – I submitted an ePaper with electronic signature

      8. Appointment letter from company (Not sure if it is mandatory but I was asked to submit as per the checklist)

      9. Last 4 months Bank statement (I had a balance of Rs. 520,000 after booking flights hotels and internal transfer)

      10. Last 3 year IT returns

      11. My daughters School Id card copy.

      12. Mariage Certificate Birth Certificate (not listed in the checklist but I submitted)

      13. Insurance for the Entire Period of travel.

  4. I got my visa processed in 24 hrs once it reached the embassy. I has my application submission at VFS Hyderabad on March 19 2019 Tuesday 1:00 PM and Got the visa in my hand through courier on Saturday

    19 Mar Tuesday – Application Submitted at VFS Hyderabad
    19 MarTuesday – Application Forwarded to Bangalore OC
    20 Mar Wednesday – Applcation Recieved at Bangalore OC
    20 Mar Wednesday: Application Forwarded to French Consulate BL
    21 Mar Holiday (embassy has listed as Holiday due to Holi)
    22 Mar Recieved Message Your application being processes 8:40 AM
    22 Mar Recieved message A decision ha been made on your Visa 3:20 PM
    22 Mar Recieved message Your Application has been sent via courier 3:40 PM
    23 Mar Recieved Courier with Visa Stamp 12: 30 PM

    Documents Submitted (Me my wife and 2 daughters aged 4 and 8)
    Note: My wife is not working
    1. Passport

    2. Round trip Airticket (It is not mandated in thec checklist but I booked ticket without knowling this, its a orginal fully paid ticket)

    2a. Internal Transfer tickets – Train ticket Airticket (We plan to cover Paris, Swiss and Belgium)

    3. Hotel Bookings (AirBnb is also accepted as opposed to basic travel agent sayings)

    4. 3 Months Salary slip

    5. Leave letter from company – I did not recieve this from my company as they told me the process is automated, so I took a print screen of the approval dates from Oracle Time and Leave and submitted that)

    6. I did not submit NOC from employer as my company does not have a policy of NOC and they told me they discontinued giving NOC

    7. Employment Certificate – I submitted an ePaper with electronic signature

    8. Appointment letter from company (Not sure if it is mandatory but I was asked to submit as per the checklist)

    9. Last 4 months Bank statement (I had a balance of Rs. 520,000 after booking flights hotels and internal transfer)

    10. Last 3 year IT returns

    11. My daughters School Id card copy.

    12. Mariage Certificate Birth Certificate (not listed in the checklist but I submitted)

    13. Insurance for the Entire Period of travel.

    Please note to not use highlighting pen on any of this documents as at the VFS I was asked to take photocopies of every document without the highlighting in Yellow (Thomas cook representative highlighted my name, id, hotel name, dates etc using Pen on all documents) My bank account statement has been consistsent over the 4 month statement and there was no last minute deposits.)

    We had previous travel history to Singapore and Malaysia.

    Visa Processing was smooth and fast and kept me on my nerves for the last 48 hrs Anxiety 🙂

    Please submit all the required documents, it doesnt matter if both spouses has to work or not, they just check for the means of subsistence.

    I do not recommend going with Thomas Cook or any other agents for Schengen Visa processing rather you can submit it yourself directly with VFS. My experience with Thomas cook has been pathetic. For instance at the VFS we made a mistake and the entire application had to be printed out again, however the document was with Thomas cook and they never picked up my call or their agents call, we had to wait for 1 hr for someone to check the system and send us the filled document. And moreover as every single document was highlighted I had to take photocopies again and spend 400 Rs just for taking photocopies (wastage of so much of paper)

    Looking forward to my First Travel to Schengen.

  5. I have booked show which is starting after two days unknowingly my visa expired so is it possible to get visa in 24 hours .it is very urgent please help me

  6. Hi , Can someone help with useful Information

    I got a mail from VFS :
    – A decision on your Visa application reference number : XXXXXX has been made by Consulate of France in Bangalore and currently in transit to the Visa application Centre.
    1:37 PM

    – Your Visa application Ref no. XXXXX has been dispatched through Courier from Bangalore OC
    1:44 PM

    I just worried as if it is a sign of rejection ? As if it is approved Usually it would take some time to get VISA stamp, I might have found it as a positive if I got mail of Dispatching the next day.

    Can someone put lights.

  7. hi all,
    France Embassy puts it on their official website that visa id delhi etc will be processed in 48 hrs. But this is a tall claim. They are not sticking to this deadline. I applied to France just bcoz of this 48 hrs else my original plan was for Italy. Since I didn’t have much time for the visa, I changed my itinerary and applied to VFS France for an early Visa. Ended up missing my flight !!
    So 48 hrs is a farce. Don’t go by it.

  8. Hey friends, I am trying to apply for Denmark visa. I am not getting appointment date from VFS since Embassy is closed for this week. I will opt for Premium lounge services. Can I know how much waiting period is there to have this appointment? I have to call VFS on 14th May. So approx how much do I have to wait? (Mumbai center)

  9. I have seen that Netherlands and Finland are generous with the visa expiry dates. If you had applied with them you would probably had got for five years.

  10. I once applied for French visa after getting the UK Visa. I received the passport back with French visa the next day.

    While I seem to connect the dots… the only reason for issuing a short duration visa could be the Travel Insurance being taken for a short period. Do let me know your thoughts.

    Btw loved your podcasts. And please pass on my sincere compliments to Shipra on having a beautiful voice.

  11. Try getting Schengen Visa for Malta or Portugal – Still takes almost a month to get it, transversing through Delhi & Goa respectively. Although the advantage for Malta Visa is they give you for 6 months…

  12. For as many international vacations Indians take and the amount of money they spend on their trips, Is sad that Indians still have to apply for visas for travel to the UK and Europe. Hope someday they come up with a visa on arrival or visa free travel for Indians. Probably not in my lifetime though

    • I am eagerly waiting for visa stampung after the re issue of my passport yesterday. If got approval when will i get mail for dispatch on fridays

  13. Yes, I had a similar experience with UK visa process – within 5 days of application ( did not pay any urgent fees) got the VISA last year

  14. Yes , I have had a similar experience twice in the last few months. Last year , I submitted my visa application for France on a Monday evening ( at 5 PM approx ) and the passport was back with me at 3 PM on Tuesday. The same thing this year , while applying for my visa for Italy. Impressive indeed.

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