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Opinions of Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Columnist: Acheampong, Emmanuel Opoku

What documents must you submit for a Schengen visa?

Introduction
Like all other visas, the documents you may be required to submit for a Schengen visa will generally depend on the purpose of your trip. The purpose of your supporting documents is to allow the relevant authorities to assess whether or not you fulfil the entry conditions or pose a risk of illegal immigration.

Generally, your documents must show the purpose of your intended journey, proof of your accommodation or proof of sufficient means to cover your accommodation, proof that you possesses sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of your stay, and any other information to enable the officer to assess your intention to leave the Schengen territory before the expiry of the your visa.

Supporting Documents for a Business Trip
If you wish to apply for a Schengen visa for business purposes, you must in addition to the general requirements provide the following:

You must submit an invitation letter from the company or the authority inviting you to attend the meeting, conference or event connected with your trade, industry or work. You must inform the inviting company to personalise the invitation to you by including your name, passport number and date of birth. In certain circumstances, a general invitation letter may be acceptable, though not advisable.

You must also submit documents to show the existence of trade relations or prior correspondence between you and the inviting company. This may include contracts, payment of invoices, lists of orders, etc. It is not advisable to merely submit an invitation letter without establishing the course of trade relations or correspondence. Where appropriate, you must submit entry tickets for fairs and congresses.

You must also submit documents to prove the business activities of your company. This may include your business registration documents, annual business register, extract of commerce register, annual report, etc.

Finally, you must not forget to submit documents to prove your employment status in your company. This may be evidenced by your employment contract, letter of introduction, proof of social security contributions, pay slips, etc.

Supporting Documents for tourism or private reasons
To apply for a Schengen visa for the purposes of tourism, you must in addition to the general requirements provide evidence of the following:

You must submit a formal invitation from your host if you are visiting a friend or relative. Your host must complete and sign an original certificate of sponsorship and accommodation as opposed to writing a general invitation letter. In addition, they must add a copy of their ID card, bio data page of their passport or residence permit.

In proof of their residence, they may send you documents of their property title deeds, rental agreements, or a document from the accommodation provider or any other appropriate document indicating the type of accommodation.

You must also provide a confirmation of the booking of an organised trip or a plausible itinerary detailing your travel plans if you are visiting for tourism. It is not sufficient to merely state your activities on the itinerary. You must be prepared to demonstrate a fair knowledge of the proposed tourist attractions you wish to see.

You must attach a copy of a flight reservation or round ticket, though you are advised not to purchase an air ticket unless you have been issued with a visa or have been specifically requested by the consulate to do so.

Supporting Documents for Medical Reasons
To apply for a Schengen visa for medical reasons, you must in addition to the general requirements provide evidence of the following:

You must submit a certificate from a medical doctor or a medical institution confirming that the claimed medical treatment is not available in your country of residence. You must also submit an official document of the receiving medical institution in the Schengen territory confirming that it can perform the specific medical treatment and that you will be accepted accordingly.

You must also provide proof of sufficient financial means to pay for your medical treatment and related expenses or proof of payment of the treatment, together with any other correspondence between the sending medical doctor and the receiving hospitals, if available.

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 as a consultant for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, an immigration law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on acheampongassociatesgh@gmail.com