The Schengen visa is a single visa which allows you to access the Schengen Zone of 26 countries in Europe. If you had to travel to member countries such as Austria, Germany or Italy, ideally, you’d have to apply for this visa a good 15-30 days before departing from India. Not the ideal time frame if you had to rush for an important business meeting or an emergency.
As per a recent Times of India report, the Schengen States may soon start issuing fast-tracked visas to accommodate last minute travels. This would cut down the decision time for travellers who need a priority Schengen visa from India. France, for example, has already brought down the processing time to 48 hours.
The UK already has a similar program, for over a year, where one can apply for a Super Priority or a Priority visa. Super Priority cuts down the decision window to just 24 hours, while Priority takes a week, as compared to the 3 weeks on the normal process. And they don’t come cheap. Expect to pay anywhere from INR 20,000 to INR 90,000 for these visas. The Schengen priority visa is also expected to cost a pretty penny. At the moment, no Schengen Zone member has announced a priority visa yet.
Priority Processing of the Schengen Visa should come in handy for folks who have to make last minute trips to the region. The obvious target market which comes to my mind are the people who travel for work. But with more and more Indians heading to Europe to study or work, I think a broad segment of travellers may benefit from this option. [Ed’s Note: Why don’t these people have a long-term multi-entry circulation visa anyway?]
15 days is a long time in today’s times. With the pace of business getting faster than ever, you never know when you’d be needing to travel at a moment’s notice. This priority visa, when it arrives, is going to be a welcome step towards enabling such kinds of travel schedules.
Have you ever had a reason to pay the European visa guys a visit to get a quick Visa issued? What is the price you are willing to pay for this service?