Under the US Immigration and Nationality Act, the H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to temporarily work in America-based companies for a specific duration. This visa is particularly popular among Indian technology and investment banking professionals.
Each year, thousands of applications are filed by H1B visa holders to visit Europe. For that, a Schengen visa is required, which enables an individual to visit any or all of the 26 member countries of the Schengen zone.
H1B Visa Holders Who Don’t Need Schengen Visa to Visit Europe
There are certain categories of the H1B visa that might not need a visa to visit Europe. Check if your visa falls under such a category:
- Foreign nationals who have dual citizenship; one of a country that has an official visa-free agreement with the EU.
- Foreign nationals who hold passports of countries that have an official visa-free pact with the EU.
- Foreign nationals who are citizens of a Schengen member country. These individuals need to travel with their European passports.
Steps to Apply for a Schengen Visa in USA
The first step is to check whether the country you wish to visit falls under the Schengen area or not. After that, you simply need to follow a few steps.
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Figure Out the Visa Type
Determine which type of visa you need, since Schengen visas are of many categories. There are single entry visas, double-entry visas and multiple-entry visas. It depends on the countries you will visit and your itinerary.
Decide on the Embassy You Have to Consult
It is necessary to determine which country would be your entry point or where you will stay for the maximum time in the EU zone. Based on that, you will need to find the specific embassy located in USA. For example, if you intend to arrive in Germany, you need to visit the German consulate for a visa.
Fill the Application Form
Download the application form and fill it properly. Collect the required Schengen visa documents and prepare for the interview. Your attached photo must be recent, taken within the last 3 months.
Schedule the Interview
You will need to take an appointment for the visa interview at the consulate of the country through which you will enter the Schengen zone. You may do this on the phone, via e-mail or in person. Schedule the interview according to your convenience, so that you are on time for the process. This is a critical aspect for visa approval, so prepare accordingly and carry all the necessary documents.
Pay the Visa Fee
The application fee will vary according to the age of the travelers and their residential status. For adults, it is usually close to $70, while for children aged 6 to 12 years, the fee is $41. Children below 6 years are exempted from the fee.
Important Documents for H1B Visa Holders
You will need to submit some documents when you apply for a Schengen visa, including a valid passport, H1B visa copy, proof of travel, cover letter or invitation from a host, health and travel insurance, proof of financial means, hotel reservation vouchers and copies of previous Schengen visas, if any. For H1B visa holders, some additional documents are needed, such as:
- Employer contract
- Bank statement for the last 6 months
- Employer NOC
- IT returns certificates
- Marriage certificate (in case spouse is accompanying you)
- Spouse’s valid passport and other details.
The EU consists of amazing nations with a rich history and cultural heritage. Make sure you plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your trip.