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Opinions of Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Columnist: Acheampong, Emmanuel Opoku

How can you qualify for a Schengen visa?

To be eligible for the grant of a Schengen visa, you must generally establish three fundamental requirements. First, you must show that you have the requisite intention to depart the territory of the Member State before your visa expires. Second, you must show that you have sufficient means of subsistence to maintain yourself during the visit. And third, you must show that you have adequate travel insurance.

How to show that you intend to depart the territory of the Member States
You must be able to show that you have a stable socio-economic situation in your home country. This may be assessed with reference to your financial situation, stability of employment, family ties, etc. Evidence that may relevant in establishing your intention may include a reservation of a return ticket. In general, a paid ticket is not required but may be requested in exceptional circumstances.

You may also provide proof of financial means by reference to your recent bank statements over a minimum period of the last three months. In addition, you may provide proof of your employment by means of a work contract, certificate of employment, information on professional status, proof of social security contribution, etc. You may also provide ownership of real estate by reference to title deed, land certificate, indenture, lease, or such other document.

For your family ties, you may provide marriage certificates or birth certificates of any children. If you a visiting a relative or friend, you must be able to prove that a genuine relationship exists between you and the person.

How to show that you have sufficient means of subsistence.
You will be required to show that you possess sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of your intended stay and for your return to your home country. This may be evidenced by recent bank statement over a minimum period of the last three months, credit card(s) and a credit card account statement, cash in convertible currency, or traveler’s cheques. Other evidence may include salary slips, certificate of employment, and a credible certificate of sponsorship and/or accommodation.

How to estimate sufficient means of subsistence.
The consulate is required to estimate the amount of financial means necessary for your stay in conjunction with the reliability of the financial resources presented by you. In assessing what is considered “sufficient means of subsistence” the officer will take into account whether accommodation is provided free of charge to you or whether the cost of your stay is covered entirely or partly by a reliable sponsor. Where this is the case, the consulate is required to accept financial resources below the cost of living as notified by the Member States in accordance with Annex 18 of the Visa Code.

This determination will be made on account of the length of your intended stay and the purpose of your intended journey, However, the consulate may request financial resources above the minimum when the purpose of your travel is luxury tourism, medical treatment, or study unless the cost is covered by a credible sponsor or proof that such costs have been prepaid.

What is adequate travel insurance?
A travel medical insurance is adequate and valid if the minimum coverage is at least EUR 30,000, and is valid throughout the whole territory and covers the entire period of your intended stay. This means the insurance must cover the period of effective stay and not the validity of the visa.

It must be stated that the provision of the above information would not necessarily guarantee that a visa will be issued. The consulate may assess the credibility and viability of the information by reference to statements made by you when submitting your application. In fact, your application may likely be refused if you fail to sufficiently demonstrate the viability of the information with clear and direct responses to questions you may be asked at the time of making your application.

By Emmanuel Opoku Acheampong

Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on Schengen immigration law. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information. The writer is an immigration law advisor and a practicing law attorney in Ghana. He advises on U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He works part-time for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, an immigration law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on