For travelling to EU, one needs to get a Schengen Visa … the best part is that there are no checks when you are travelling within EU and this Visa allows you to enter every EU member country – including Switzerland, but not UK. Getting this Visa is far easier than one for UK & US – for reason best known to all Indians.
Before applying for the Visa (and selecting the country), one needs to check two things – Port of Entry and Duration of Stay. If duration of stay in a particular country is more than in the port of entry, then you need to apply for the former.
We had to apply for the France Visa and we decided not to use any agent as the process is fairly simple.
· Down load the application form from http://www.vfs-france.co.in/downloadvisaforms.html . Short stay one if you are planning a short visit
· VFS Global handles the Visa process for France as well as for most of the other European countries. Link http://www.vfs-france.co.in/index.html
· Visa fees: http://www.vfs-france.co.in/visafees.html. No fees for children less than 6 years
· Fill up the form carefully without any cuts or corrections. Be very careful about the photo to be used – specs available at: http://www.vfs-france.co.in/photospec.html
· Schedule an appointment at http://www.vfs-france.co.in/scheduleanappointment.html and print the Appointment Letter
· Documentation requirement is elaborate but not as bad as required by the UK High Commission. Link: http://www.vfs-france.co.in/touristdocuments.html
· VFS’s center for applications for France (and for Italy, Switzerland, Denmark and a couple of more EU countries) in Mumbai is based at:
Floor #2,Aurum House, Lane Next to Babulnath Temple
Plot no. 25, Dadyseth Lane, Chowpatty Band Stand
Near Bombay Garage, Babulnath
· The whole family need not go for submission and only one representative can go there. This center is well managed – with enough seating arrangements etc. inside
· Its takes about 1 ½ hours to submit the application on average – though the France section is very busy. Some other countries have no queues
· Deposit the Visa charges in cash, no need to making DD in advance
· You will be given another appointment letter, for finger-printing and interview the next working day at the Consulate
· Children under 12 do not fingerprinting for France. For Italy, you do not need fingerprinting at all, so saves you a day by not having to go to the Consulate
· You will have to go to:
CONSULATE GENERAL OF FRANCE, MUMBAI
Wockhardt Towers, 5th Floor, Bandra Kurla Complex
Bandra East, Mumbai 400 051
· The consulate general is located conveniently but be ready to be treated like a 3rd world citizen. You will have to wait on the road till the appointment time and then allowed to enter.
· After confiscation of phones and all electronic goods, you will be allowed to enter and wait for your call
· The interview process is strict and you will be asked more questions than in any job interview
· Original documents are required and will be checked. Be sure to submit / carry all the necessary documents, else you will be called back another day
· Post the interview, you will be told that the Visa will be couriered within 15 odd days, but it’s usually earlier
· We got a call to go back and submit a ‘Itinerary’ the next day as the tickets / bookings submitted got them confused – will reserve my comments here. Just to submit a single Itinerary sheet, I had to wait for 3 hours !!!
· The passports were couriered as promised and if you have paid for the SMS alerts, you will know when its reaching you
Bon Voyage !!!
Also Read — Do-It-Yourself–UK Visa
Do let a note for us if you have found this blog helpful. We’d love it so much!!