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VISA APPLICATIONS FORMS: This is where the consular officer gets the first opportunity to know the applicant behind the visa application. This is the first impression, don’t ruin it, please. What you fill in here should tally with what’s on your passport. Names and dates of birth should match what’s on all your documents. No other name matters except what’s on your passport. Most of the questions you will be asked would come from what you have provided in this visa application form.

Dates such as Departure and return should match with what’s on your hotel reservationticket booking and if applicable, invitation or tour package dates. Granted, these dates may change after you receive your visa based on the availability of air tickets or any other reasons, however, for visa purposes, during visa application, they should not change.



PASSPORT: This document bears your name but it’s the property of your country’s governmentDo not tamper with any page, stamps, or writings. Keep it as neat as it is. If you have been denied a visa in the past and the embassy stamped or made some markings on the passport, leave it as it is. Do not try to erase or tamper with it. Intentionally tampering with this document could be seen as an attempt to deceive or mislead the consulate office. No consulate office takes this kindly. You could be handed over to your country’s police for further criminal investigations. If you try to mislead or deceive by way of tampering with the passport, your best result is to get a visa denial and maybe get blacklisted.



COVER LETTER: If you do not have a chance for an interview, this is probably your tramp card. It should explain in convincing detail the purpose of your visit. State in detail what you’re going to do on your visit: when you intend to arrive, the places you would visit, and why you are visiting that particular country when you intend to depart to your home country. Give one or two convincing reasons to prove you would return to your home country after your visit. If you intend to visit another Schengen country, mention it and give details of your trip also to that other country. Also mention in your cover letter: your work, your family, or your business. Say something about a contract you’re about to execute, assisting your children with school work, or an important role you have been assigned at your workplace which will make it difficult for you to stay away for more than 2 weeks. It’s a big clue to the consulate officer that you cherish what you have at home hence you would return after your trip. PLEASE DON’T LIE OR EXAGGERATE. 

BANK STATEMENTS: The second most important document apart from your visa application forms. Normally from the last 3 months, but it doesn’t ruin anything if you present for the last 5 or 6 months, it makes your case better. Do not forget to include your pay slips as well. As a huge advantage, you could add your company appointment or contract letter. If you’re a salaried worker, don’t even attempt to make huge deposits prior to your visa application submission or interview just to prove you have enough funds, especially sums of money you would struggle to explain its source. The amount of money in your savings account should tally with how much you receive monthly. You do not require millions of dollars to travel. Your financial statement to prove you have a stable job (income) and are able to pay for your trip and other expenses whiles abroad. Of course, your closing balance should prove that. If you’re traveling to Europe and your closing balance is $1,000.00 or less, come on, how on earth are you going sustain yourself. Your statement also proves that you are financially stable and would return to your home country after your visit.



If you own a business, there is no limit as to how much is in your bank account. But if almost all the deposits in your account are cash deposits, especially from just one or 2 persons, and some of your documents don’t prove that you are a trader who sends salespersons to make deposits, it could be seen as an artificially manufactured bank statement. The name on your business certificate should match the name on your bank statement. If names have changed, present an affidavit explaining why.  An additional advantage is to present your original company registration with a TAX/IRS certificateIt proves that you have a genuine business. Pretty much any document that proves an ongoing and sustainable business. TAX/IRS certificate also shows that you’re compliant and most likely you have complied with the visa application rules. *Be careful of people who promise you bank statements with huge amounts. You may never know its source. The embassies may check with your bank to ascertain its authenticity. FLIGHT BOOKING: you could use search engines on the internet to find free apps for flight reservations or pay a small amount of $20.00 to get one. Else talk to a travel agent to generate one for you at a small fee.



HOTEL RESERVATION: apply the same formula you used for the flight booking. Do not make actual payments in both cases. It’s just for the visa process. Your visa would not be denied because of this, the embassies know that. But you could be denied a visa if you don’t present any of such.

TRAVEL INSURANCE: this applies to almost all Schengen states and other European countries. For Schengen states, the insurance must be (15 days extra from the date you depart Europe on your flight itinerary). Travel insurance should cover an amount of 30,000.00 Euros.

Do not stress yourself so much about this. It may be just a phone call away. Most of the insurance companies in your country can take care of this for a small amount. Else you could use the ones normally advertised on most of the Schengen visa application websites. Note: Providing misleading information is a serious offense in consular and immigration language.

This checklist is specifically designed for a Schengen tourist visa application, but it may also apply to any visa application. Their requirements are almost the same.

Author: Andy Pratt

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