parallax background

Schengen Visa Guide: Step-by-Step

“Regarding the nature/purpose of the travel, there are several types of a Schengen visa issued by the designated Embassy/Consulate.”

Under visiting/traveling purpose, my type of visa is C. So what is your purpose of travel? Also, there are a few questions you need to thoroughly understand in order to be successfully granted a Schengen visa. Four big questions are about: Purpose, Length of stay, Financial situation, Education/work/family.

This post is for someone who is no longer a student and doesn’t have a job yet (by the time preparing for this visa), wants to travel for a long period of time but doesn’t have deep pocket, and a Vietnamese citizen (this one deeply matters: it’s painfully hard for a young Vietnamese citizen with countless restrictions).

My situation seems unrealistic, but how on earth was I issued a 90-day visa with multiple entries? So, stay with me!

Schengen visa - Visa application - Travel to Europe - Germany -neuschwanstein Castle - Baveria-min2

First off, my sincere advice before your Schengen visa preparation:

(Hover mouse for tips behind each box)

Say ``NO`` 100 times

You DO NOT need to acquire any visa service to get a visa

It's unnecessary to pay for a visa service as you need an interview in person. You can obtain info from them but triple check because I got wrong info so often.

Make an appointment first

Make an appointment for the interview around 3 months earlier.

If you plan is in August, you should make an appointment from May because in May, most interview slots in June and July are already gone, but you will have availability in August.

Be ahead of time

Preparing a few months in advance brings you a plenty of benefits.

It takes time to receive official letters from banks, arrange your job and assign it to someone else. It also takes time to ask for a leave of absence letter from employer or an invitation letter from your host.

Be thorough

Follow the instruction from the Consulate website step-by-step

All application forms, all guidance for each situation are clearly written down on the Consulate website. Download them, fill in with neat handwriting.

Second, checklist for a Schengen Visa – tourism/visiting purposes

1. Essentials for visiting purpose:

(from the inviting person)

  • Invitation letter(?)
  • ID Card (1 copy)
  • Passport (1 copy)

2. Essentials for identity:

  • Letter of Interview Appointment
  • Visa Application (download, fill, sign)
  • Passport (1 original, 1 copy)
  • 2 Passport size photos

3. Proof of financial resources:

  • Travel Insurance ( >=30.000 EUR)
  • Bank account statement (last 3 months)
  • Savings (at least $5,000)
  • Other documents about your financial resources

4. Proof that “ties to your home country”:

  • Round-trip flight ticket confirmation (1 original)
  • Birth certificate & Family register (1 original, 1 translated + notarized copy)


  • Labor contract + Payslip OR Employment certificate + Salary certificate (*) (1 original in English/German, 1 notarized copy)


  • Letter of school enrollment (1 original in Eng/German, 1 notarized copy)

Third, Schengen Visa – fact to know

Know your travel like the back of your hands because they’re gonna ask in the interview. When I applied for my US visa, they asked “Tell me about San Francisco?” and “What are you gonna do there?” etc. Similarly, I enriched my knowledge about Germany and some certain parts of EU where I planned to visit.

Questions for my in the interview for a Schengen visa:

1. What is the purpose of going to Germany?

2. Is that your friend? How do you know him?

3. How long will you stay?

4. Are you currently working? So, where is the labor contract?

It was so short and simple, and they even gave me back my photo that is supposed to be used for the visa which made me wanna cry. But stay with me, and don’t get disheartened. It wasn’t the final result.

What to wear

Be tidy and simple. I just wore blue jeans, white shirt, sneakers, put on a pony tail and light orange lipstick.

When to arrive

Arrive at the Embassy 1 hour before the interview in case you get stuck in traffic or you forget something, and start to stay in line 15 mins before the interview time.

What to expect

There is a waiting area with seats and lockers for backpacks.

After security check, an officer will double-check all documents and leave out the unnecessary ones. Then, take a number and wait for the interview.

What they ask

They will ask general questions about the travel such as purpose, how long, the relationship between you and the person you’re going to visit.

How long it takes

My interview was about 5 minutes, but the whole process took around 4 hours.  Btw, they don’t need copies of stamps in the passport. They need copies of visa in your passport.

When get a result

After 7 working days, you receive the result. If you can’t go there in person, someone else can help with. That person should bring his ID with him for identification.

AnhThy(Tea) started to travel at a very young age, but things get serious during her years living abroad where she was exposed to majestic nature and wonderful people from all walks of life. Apart from photography, writing becomes part of her life in which she relives all of the memories built up along the way, and in which she can become as many different characters as she always wants to be. Following her journey to discover more of the personality that comes across in her work.


  1. Phuong says:

    Hi Thy. I’m now starting to prepare documents for Schengen Visa application. As you mentioned above, I should make an appointment with Consulate General 3 months before depature date. My plan is to travel this August, but now many documents have been progressing. Should I make an appointment before everything is completed?
    I’m looking forward to your response.
    Thank you. Have a nice day!

    • Fabian says:

      Hi Phương,

      So glad to hear from you and it’s my pleasure to give out any advice that may help you in your Europe journey.

      First, it partly depends on the country you apply for your Schengen Visa as well as the volume of applications they receive and peak/off peak time (You mentioned “August”, so yeah, it’s likely to be a lot of applications). I applied for mine at the German Consulate in HCMC because I planed to stay in Germany the longest. When I was preparing for my application in June and trying to make an appointment for the beginning of August, I freaked out as it was almost fully booked. They only had available slots for the interview from the last few days in August onward. Therefore, if you can be flexible to travel anytime in August and that being delayed for 1 or 2 weeks doesn’t matter much, it should be fine to make an appointment at least 2 months in advance. But I sincerely recommend you keep an eye on the Consulate appointment website to make sure you can book the slot you desire.
      => Yes, make an appointment first before everything is completed. Then, take care of the document process during the time waiting for the interview.

      Second, it’s wise to take a look at your checklist and make a priority. You need to know which document takes long time to be proceeded or involves other people -> do it first.
      Make a timeline. Make a clear plan: what needs to be done in May, in Jun, in July, etc. Have an open schedule maybe 1 or 2 weeks before the interview in case you need to back up something.

      Being granted a Schengen visa or not depends on many other factors. I don’t know much about your plan. But stay tuned. I’m here to help ????

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.