Processing visitor visa is very simple. Even if you go thru a travel agent, except the submission of the visa application form, you will have to do everything else yourself. It is not even required that the applicant has to personally submit – anyone can submit with an authorization form from the applicant. All forms are simple and straight forward to fill in. So far I have got visitor visa processed 4 different times (across 4 years – 2010, 11, 13, 14) for my close relatives without any issues.
From my experience, tourist visa is approved and granted in all normal cases. However the duration of the granted visa might vary depending on the circumstance (explained in FAQ).
There are 2 scenarios of visitor visa:
- Applicant will primarily stay with someone who is already in Netherlands: In this case, the person in the Netherlands will have to first “legally” invite the applicant by purchasing a ‘Proof of sponsorship/private accommodation’ letter from the local town-hall (full procedure explained below).
- Applicant is visiting Netherlands on his own (with tours etc)
Below is what you need to do:
- http://www.vfs-nl-in.com/tourist.html is pretty much the only link you will need for reference! The link has 5 tabs that tell you Visa fee, Documents required, Forms to be used, Photo specifications and FAQ. Just follow them and that’s about it. Note that 1 application form and associated documents is needed for each traveler (including children of all ages).
- Schedule a visa appointment via http://www.vfs-nl-in.com/schedule.html
- Submit the visa application form and pay the application fee on the appointment date and time. The cash you need to carry is:
- visa fees (mentioned in http://www.vfs-nl-in.com/tourist_visafees.html)
- VFS fees (about Rs 1000)
- Courier fee if you want VFS to courier the passport to your home address (about Rs 300)
- In about 5 days, collect the passport in person or wait for the courier.
FAQ and IMO (In My Opinion):
- What is a “legal” invitation? Ans: It is an invitation form (titled ‘Proof of sponsorship/private accommodation’) issued at the local town-hall. It is required when someone living in the Netherlands is sponsoring the visitor and/or providing for the accommodation.
- Where can I get the legalized invitation? Ans: You can print the form online: Aanvraagformulier Bewijs van garantstelling en/of particuliere logiesverstrekking. A hard copy is also available at the town-hall. The filled in form (1 form for each visitor) needs to be submitted at the local town-hall. The town-hall will put a seal and signature on the form, charge you a fee and return the form back to you. If you are single, the fee is about €10.25 per visitor. If you are married, it costs double!! Also, if you are married, you need to go along with your spouse to the town hall to get the legalized invitation! (Sounds ridiculous, but is true!! 🙁 )
- Should I send originals of the legalized invitation and other documents? Ans: It is sufficient to submit printouts/copies of the documents with the visitor visa application form. Originals are not required. Eg: You can scan the legalized invite letter and email it to your visitor. They can take a printout and submit along with their visa application.
- Though visa processing is free for children 0 to 5yrs, appointment should be taken and visa application form must be submitted for them as well.
- To schedule an appointment in the busy period (May to Aug), you need to plan and start checking the website for appointment at least 1 month in advance. Generally, appointment scheduling for the next months is opened about 10 days before the next month.
- Once you take an appointment, unless you cancel it, the site will not let you schedule one more appointment for the same passport number. (Cancelling process will take 1 or 2 working days since you need to send an email to VFS for doing this).
- Anybody can submit the visa application form. It is not required for the applicant to go to submit the application form.
- If all documents are good, it takes about 5 to 7 working days to get your passport from the time you submit the application at the VFS center.
- The duration of the granted visa varies from 2 years to just for the number of days you have requested for in the visa application form. If you have already had a Shengen visitor visa or a US visa, chances are you will get a 2 years valid visa (means you can come and go any number of times as long as you do not stay more than 90 days in any given 180 days period). If you do not get the 2 years visa, chances are that you will get 90 days or just the number of days you have mentioned on your application. I suggest you mention the number of days on your application as 90 days always. It will make your visa validity flexible enough for changing flight ticket.
- I suggest to choose “Multiple entry” option. This will help in case you decide to go to UK after planning the Europe trip.
- If you have not opted for postal delivery of the passport, anyone can collect it back from the application center. They will need the receipt of submission and also an authorization letter.
- The visitor visa is called Schengen visa. It allows the visitor to travel thru most of western Europe. Lookup wiki to get the latest list of Schengen countries.
- In any Schengen country, the visitors must carry their passport at all times to prove that they are legal. Police can stop and ask for valid ID and they do it often.
Disclaimer: The is my best effort and no responsibility will be taken for any inaccuracy