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In this post is some valuable information for Indian-women travelers trying to get a Schengen Visa to travel solo around Europe. I needed a Schengen Visa as the UK/British visa doesn’t serve as a Schengen. Without the Schengen Visa, I wouldn’t be able to enter mainland Europe and all my planning for my December holiday would be a total waste.
I must be very confident about getting the Schengen visa because my act of booking all train and flight tickets is shocking stupid. If I didn’t get a Schengen, I’d be in a huge monetary loss. Paperwork again. Applying for a Visa is easier if you know where all your documents are and if the only tiring part is to put them together but with a Schengen, I didn’t know what docs to submit that would make my case convincing. To save myself the headache, I tried to engage a travel agent. I spoke with several and hated each one of them when their first comment on my requirement was that I have very poor chances of getting a Schengen Visa as a single woman traveler. You can’t engage a travel agent or a tattoo artist unless you are sure you him/her – I did not like any of them – they only made my case seem more and more difficult.
I began slowly with the paperwork. I would need a solid sponsor, an invite from a well-earning individual in any of the Schengen countries I would be visiting. After much research, I figured that the Belgian Schengen Visa process was much pleasant compared to any other – processing takes no more than 5 days while other Schengen countries take upto 15 days or longer and usually longer is it’s a first ever application for a Schengen Visa.
Doing things step by step is a good practice. I could find a sponsor/invite. Next step was the application itself. Unfortunately VFS doesn’t accept courier applications so I had to find help in Mumbai that would drop my application – I found an angel. Most first time Schengen Visa applications include a personal interview. I had to travel to Mumbai for the interview. I wish I didn’t have to. I wish I could save the money on flight tickets but on the other hand, I was also excited about going to Mumbai – it’d be my first visit to Mumbai, ever.
Also, the interview was scheduled for 26/11. I was flying to London on 2/12. This waiting and not knowing is nerve-wracking. The best and worst kind of thrill.