How Long Does It Take To Get A Schengen Visa - The Processing Time and More (2024)

Visiting the Schengen Area is not as easy as it seems. If you don't leave enough time for your Schengen Visa application process, you might risk not getting your visa before your trip. Unfortunately, most people get absorbed in the excitement of planning a trip and don't consider the time it takes to complete the entire Schengen Visa application process. This happened to me once...

I won't bore you with the details, so I'll keep my story short. My first trip to France was an absolute disaster. To be honest, it was entirely my fault, and I should've known better. As I just mentioned, I got caught up in planning my exciting trip rather than spending time on completing my Schengen Visa application. Because I left everything for the last minute, I received my Schengen Visa 2 weeks too late. All that long hours of planning for nothing. Sadly, I couldn't travel to France that year!

That's the reality of Schengen Visas today. You first need to stress about getting your visa before you can get excited about your trip. That's why I decided to write this blog today, to help you understand how long it really takes to get a Schengen Visa.

When To Start The Schengen Visa Application Process

It's important to understand when you should start the Schengen Visa application process. The earliest you can start applying for your Schengen Visa is 3 months before your intended date of departure. I recommend starting as soon as possible. This will leave you enough time to complete all the Schengen Visa application process steps.

The Schengen Visa application steps include (if you do it the traditional way):

1. Collecting all the required documents

2. Filling out the Schengen Visa application form

3. Scheduling an appointment at the Embassy

4. Attending your appointment and submitting your biometric data

5. Pay the visa application fee

6. Wait for feedback from the Embassy

Starting with your application process soon enough will leave you enough time for all of these steps. Also, should there be any unforeseen events, you'll have enough time to react to them.

For example, suppose you can't attend your initial Schengen Visa appointment, and you need to reschedule it. In that case, you'll have enough time to do so and still receive your visa before your flight to the Schengen Area.


There is always the possibility that your Schengen Visa may be denied. Don't worry. A visa getting denied is usually due to minor mistakes made during the visa application process. This can be something like a spelling mistake, incompleted application forms, or even unclear travel purposes. If you leave yourself enough time, you can successfully appeal the initial decision and correct the small mistakes you made.

Another thing you should consider is the number of people you're traveling with. This can influence how long it takes for you to complete all the application steps. For example, suppose you're traveling with 4 children. In that case, you'll need to gather all the required documents for all your children alongside your own. This can take a considerable amount of time.

The next thing you should consider is the time of the year you'll be traveling to the Schengen Area. During holiday seasons, Embassies will most likely have more Schengen Visa applications they need to process. Conversely, during offseasons, the demand for Schengen Visas will be less. This means Embassies won't have to process a large number of visas.

Considering all these factors mentioned above, there is an effective way to cut your application time in half. How? Complete your Schengen Visa application through Atlys (within minutes). Atlys gets everything from the required documents to your appointment slot, with minimum effort from your side. By far the easiest way to save time when applying for your next visa.

What Is The Processing Time Of The Schengen Visa

The processing time for your visa can depend on the Embassy you plan to apply at. Typically you can expect to wait around 15 calendar days for your visa to be processed. In some cases, you might receive your visa before the initial 15 days. However, keep in mind that other factors can delay the visa processing time. Some of these factors include:

  • Political unrest in the Schengen country you plan to visit

  • New visa changes are being implemented

  • Political changes within the country you plan to visit

  • Travel restrictions

  • A sudden demand in Schengen Visas

  • A global pandemic like COVID-19 that influences travel

Furthermore, if you're planning to travel with your family, you should consider the time it takes for the Embassy to process all your visas.

You should always keep these things in mind when you start your Schengen Visa application process.

What To Remember During the Schengen Visa Application Process

As you already know, I failed to consider many things during my Schengen Visa application process. Unfortunately, all of these led to me not getting my visa on time - which meant I couldn't go on my trip to France.

After that horrible experience, I have decided to compile a list of general tips you can refer back to when you apply for your Schengen Visa...

Collect Your Documents On Time

This is the first mistake I made. I didn't consider how long it would take to gather all the required documents for my Schengen Visa. Remember, without the correct documents, your Schengen Visa will be denied indefinitely.

Here is a list of documents you require:

  • A Valid Passport/Valid Travel Document (with 2 blank pages available for your visa sticker)

  • 2 Passport Photos that meet the following requirements

  • 2 Copies Of Your Passport

  • Copies Of Your Previous Visas

  • A Flight Itinerary/Return Flight Ticket

  • A Cover Letter (which states the purpose of your travel)

  • Proof Of Accommodation

  • Proof Of Sufficient Funds

  • Proof Of Valid Travel Insurance/Medical Insurance

  • Proof Of Your Employment Status

  • An Invitation Letter (if applicable)

At first glance, it's not a very tall order. These documents aren't that difficult to collect. However, that's the mistake most people make (like me). Because it seems pretty straightforward, most people don't prioritize collecting their documents in time.

You'll need to consider the time it takes to travel back and forth to collect these documents. For example, you'll need to present 2 passport photos that meet specific requirements. So, you'll need to travel to get your photos taken, collect them, and travel back.


Maybe you need to submit a letter of invitation from a family member or friend you plan to visit. They'll need to provide their personal details, address, telephone number, and so on. It might seem simple, but you're still dependent on them sending you the letter in time.

Whatever the reason, don't underestimate the time it takes to collect the required documents.

Quick tip: If you apply for a visa to a specific country, you'll need to submit your documents in English or the official language of the country you plan to visit. Let's use my example - my documents had to be either in English or French. You can get all your documents translated by a certified translator on upwork.

Scheduling Your Schengen Visa Appointment

If you've ever applied for a Schengen Visa, you'll know what a headache scheduling a visa appointment can be. Unfortunately, the truth is, Embassies won't always have the appointment slot available that suits you. Meaning, you'll have to settle for a later appointment date than you planned. Furthermore, the entire process of scheduling a Schengen Visa appointment can be difficult and tiresome.

In my case, I couldn't get the appointment slot I wanted. I was only able to get an appointment a week later. I was still hopeful that I would receive my visa before my intended departure date, but that was not the case. As I already mentioned, I received my visa 2 weeks too late.

Reduce The Processing Time Of Your Schengen Visa

Realistically, there isn't really a way you can reduce your visa's processing time. However, I once asked a consular officer if there was any way to speed up the visa application process. She informed me there isn't, but providing a complete visa application does help Embassy officials make a decision faster.

A Complete Schengen Visa Application Includes:

  • All the required documents

  • A Schengen Visa application form that has been filled out correctly and neatly

  • Providing enough evidence that supports the reason for your trip

It might not make a massive difference in the processing time of your visa. Still, it does help Embassy officials make a favorable decision faster.

The Best Alternative For Your Schengen Visa Application

I used to think that there was only one way you could apply for a Schengen Visa. However, after my tragic France visa experience, a friend told me about another simpler way to apply for a Schengen Visa. So, next, I'll list the 2 ways you can successfully apply for your Schengen Visa.

Applying The Old Traditional Way

Applying the traditional way is how I used to apply for my Schengen Visas. If you follow the visa application process correctly, you can successfully obtain a Schengen Visa to your main destination. Nonetheless, applying the traditional way does have a few downfalls:

  • It takes some time to gather all the required documents

  • Scheduling a Schengen Visa appointment is difficult

  • You have to do everything on your own

  • If you don't know how to apply for a Schengen Visa, it can be stressful

  • The Schengen Visa application process takes a lot of time and can be tiresome

These are some of the things I encountered while applying for my Schengen Visa. Also, these are the things you need to consider when you apply for a Schengen Visa.

Quick note: I understand that I was to blame for not getting my Schengen Visa on time. I'm in no way saying that the traditional way of applying for a Schengen Visa is the worst or wrong way to do it. I have just found an easier way to do it.

Applying Through Atlys For My Schengen Visa

As I briefly mentioned before, a dear friend of mine told me about a handy tool called Atlys, which he uses to apply for his Schengen Visas. After I couldn't go on my planned trip to France, I decided to reapply for my Schengen Visa and go the following year. So I ended up downloading Atlys and applied for my short-stay visa through the app.

To be honest, I fell in love with how simple the app made the entire visa application process. So much so that I still share my experience with anyone willing to listen.

Let me share how simple the visa application process was for me...

After downloading the app, I had to:

  • pick a country (France),

  • a date,

  • fill in my personal details

  • and answer some questions about my planned trip.


  • I took a selfie (for my passport photos which was delivered to me),

  • a photo of my passport,

  • and a photo of my US Green Card.

After taking the photos, Atlys also auto-generated a complete flight itinerary, proof of accommodation, and employment letter (I had the option to do this myself, but why would I). Also, I had the option to add health insurance/insurance policy through the app. Furthermore, I had the option to connect my bank account (for the required bank statements) for proof of sufficient funds.

The best part was scheduling my Schengen Visa appointment. Atlys automatically generated available visa appointments for me. So, all I had to do was choose an appointment slot that suited me - done!

After finalizing the service payment, I had to print my Schengen Visa application form (which had all my supporting documents attached to it), attend my visa appointment, and wait for feedback from the French Embassy. It was honestly as easy as that!

This entire process took less than 10 minutes, and I did it from the comfort of my own home, only lifting one finger.

Quick note: I ask you not to take my word. Instead, try it yourself!

After receiving favorable feedback from the French Embassy, I traveled to collect my new visa. Afterward, I was well on my way to my long-awaited trip to France.

You now know what to expect when you start your Schengen Visa application for your next trip to the Schengen Zone.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Schengen Visa - The Processing Time and More (2024)


How Long Does It Take To Get A Schengen Visa - The Processing Time and More? ›

You will have to wait at least 15 days for your Schengen Visa to be processed, though the processing time will depend on your case. In specific cases, embassies can take 30 days to process a visa, and the Schengen Visa processing time could even be as long as 60 days in extraordinary circ*mstances.

How long does it take for Schengen visa to be approved? ›

Processing times:

The processing time for a Schengen visa is 15 calendar days according to the Schengen Visa Code. Please arrange your appointment to submit your application as early as possible. You may apply up to six months before the start of the intended visit.

What is the fastest Schengen visa approval? ›

1. Lithuania. Lithuania is one of the easiest European countries to get a visa. In 2021, 98.7% of applications were granted, meaning only 2.8% of visa applications were rejected.

Why does it take so long to get a Schengen visa? ›

Demand Surge: There may be an increase in a visa applications for the Schengen country you wish to visit, especially during the summer months or before or during a special event. With so many applications to deal with, the embassy may take some time to process so many applications.

How will I know if my Schengen visa is approved? ›

You can track your Schengen Visa application via the embassy of the country you applied to by contacting them, or going online, either via their website or the website of the outsourced visa application center you have applied to.

How long does it take to get Schengen visa from USA? ›

You will have to wait at least 15 days for your Schengen Visa to be processed, though the processing time will depend on your case. In specific cases, embassies can take 30 days to process a visa, and the Schengen Visa processing time could even be as long as 60 days in extraordinary circ*mstances.

Is it hard to get Schengen visa? ›

Getting a Schengen visa to travel to Europe can be a long, challenging, and frustrating process. Fortunately, however, there are a few hacks that you can use to get one relatively easily and quickly.

Which Schengen visa is hardest? ›

In terms of visa rejection rate, which is a percentage of all applications, the following Schengen countries were on top:
  • Malta — rejected 36.4% of applications;
  • Sweden — 29%;
  • Belgium — 28.4%;
  • France — 22.2%.
Jun 11, 2023

Which country gives fastest Schengen visa? ›

The country with the fastest Schengen visa processing time is Lithuania. Places like Germany and France get many visa applications because they're very popular with tourists and business travelers.

What is the least wait time for Schengen visa? ›

Standard Schengen Visa Processing Times

The standard Schengen visa processing time is fifteen (15) calendar days. Your visa application will be processed within 15 days from the day that you submit your application. However, you should know that this period may be extended up to thirty (30) days.

Why is it so hard to get an appointment for Schengen visa? ›

This led to high demand for Schengen visas, and the Embassies are struggling to meet the high demand for Schengen Visas due to the fixed amount of visas they can issue.

Where can I get a Schengen visa in USA? ›

To apply for a Schengen visa in the United States go to the VFS Global application centre in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco or Washington D.C. You can only submit an application there if you live in the United States.

What is the rejection rate for Schengen visa? ›

In the past years, the rejection rates have increased from 8.2 per cent in 2017, to 9.6 per cent in 2018, 9.9 per cent in 2020, 13.6 per cent in 2020, reaching an all-time high of 17.9 per cent in 2022.

How do I follow up on my Schengen visa application? ›

VFS Global
  1. Go to the VFS Global website.
  2. Select the country you applied from and the country you are going to.
  3. Click 'Take me to the website. ...
  4. Select the 'Track your application' tab and then click on 'Track your visa application status online'.

Do they check visa between Schengen countries? ›

Common visa policy

In practice, this means that if you're cleared to enter one Schengen country, you can travel to any of the other Schengen countries without having to show your travel document again. Follow the links below for more information about your rights when travelling in the EU.

What are the stages of visa processing? ›

Immigrant Visa Process
  • Civil Documents.
  • Scan Documents.
  • Submit Documents.
  • Interview Preparation.
  • Applicant Interview.
  • After the Interview.

How long does it take to get a Schengen visa from VFS? ›

The processing time of a Schengen visa application takes in accordance with the Schengen Visa Code up to 15 calendar days after reaching the embassy (not after the submission at the VFS Visa Application Center).


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