Schengen Visa Application
Where to apply?
Even though one Schengen visa allows you to freely travel within all Schengen countries, and the visa rules and procedures are the same for all Schengen countries, in order to balance the work load and the traffic, certain rules have been established regarding which country's embassy/consulate you need to apply for a Schengen visa.

If you are visiting only one Schengen country, you need to apply at the embassy/consulate of that particular country.

If you intend to visit several Schengen countries, you must apply for a visa at the embassy/consulate of the country which is your main destination. To determine your main destination, find out the country within the Schengen territory where you are going to spend the most number of nights.

If you intend to visit several Schengen countries and if you don't have a main destination or if you are going to spend an equal number of nights in multiple Schengen countries, you must apply for a visa at the embassy/consulate of the country which is your first port of entry.

If you are applying for the visas with limited territorial validity, you need to apply to the concerned consulate for the examination of the application.

If you don't need a visa for the Schengen country of your main destination or first point of entry, you may require a visa for other Schengen countries you may wish to visit. You need to apply with the embassy/consulate of the first country that requires you have a visa.

The visa is issued only by the consulate of France if Monaco is your main destination.

Once you have determined the embassy/consulate of the country where you need to apply, you need to apply at the embassy/consulate of that country that has jurisdiction of over your place of residence.

When to apply?
Processing timings vary at different embassies/consulates in different parts of the world. So that you are able to make your trip as planned, you are recommended to apply for a Schengen visa approximately 6 weeks before you intend to travel.

The usual processing time for a visa is 24 to 48 hours. However, it can take as long as 14 to 21 days for citizens of certain countries.

Some embassies/consulates allow for walk-ins while others allow by appointment ONLY. Also, except for the long-stay visitor visa applicants, you can't book an appointment more than 6 weeks in advance.

Issuance by representation
If the Schengen country responsible for issuing the Schengen visa does not have any embassy/consulate in a third country where you need to apply, the visa may be issued by representation by the embassy/consulate of the country that represents the interests of the country responsible in a particular third country.

When a visa has been issued by representation, the letter "R" must be entered under the heading "Remarks", followed by the country code of the country on whose behalf the visa is issued. E.g., if the German embassy in Washington DC issued a visa on behalf of Iceland, the remarks should say "R IS".

Representation applies only for the issuance of visas. Travelers that can't get a visa for inability to provide sufficient proof that they fulfill relevant conditions may also apply at the embassy/consulate of the main destination in a neighboring country, if such case arises.

Table of representation for issuing uniform visas

Non-residents
If you apply for a visa in a country where you are not ordinarily resident, you must provide a justification regarding why you are applying from a third country.

Applying
Even when you present all required documentation, you are not guaranteed a Schengen visa as there is no right to it. Presenting all the documents only assures that the application can be accepted by the appropriate consulate, but not that a visa will actually be granted. The consular office can ask for any additional documents as necessary. You should not make non-refundable travel arrangement until you receive the approval for your visa. You should never assume that your application will be automatically approved.

The consular staff of the Embassies and Consulates General of the Schengen countries in the U.S. guarantee a courteous, knowledgeable and speedy handling of your application. They expect you to behave equally courteously and to answer all relevant questions they might ask related to your application and to the purpose of your stay.

Due to local particularities, handling and processing may vary slightly among the Schengen missions abroad.

Online appointment for consulate of France

At the consulate
Only the applicants are admitted into the consulate for the interview, unless he/she needs to be accompanied by another person because of age, ill health or difficulties in speaking English or the official language of the Schengen country whose consulate you are applying at.

Usually, there are no waiting areas outside the consulate for the friends/relatives who are not admitted to the interview.

Minor applicants must he accompanied by their father/mother/legal guardian at the personal interview.

For those consulates where a prior appointment is required, and if you don't go to your appointment and fail to cancel it within 48 hours, or if you make more than one appointment, your online appointment will be cancelled without notice.

Extension of visa
If you need to extend the Schengen visa because of serious occupational/personal reasons, humanitarian grounds or force majeure, you should apply in the Schengen country where you are currently located even if you are planning to visit another Schengen country after extending the visa. A visa extension may not result in a duration of stay exceeding 90 days. Unless otherwise restricted by the issuing Schengen country, extended Schengen visa will give entry to the same territory for which the original visa was issued. A fee may be charged by the authority to extend visa.

FAQ
Q: If my Schengen visa has been issued by the German consulate, can I use this visa to make a side trip to other European countries such as Italy or France?
A: Yes. You can use the Schengen visa to visit any of the 15 countries currently participating in the Schengen agreement, unless your visa has been issued with limited territorial validity.

However, if you are planning to visit several countries, please look at the top of this page to determine where to apply for the Schengen visa.

Q: I have a valid visa issued by the consulate of Germany and have visited France recently. Can I use the same visa to visit Norway now?
A: Yes. Please check your visa sticker for your visa's validity, its number of entries and the maximum duration of stay.

Q: I am a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and will be stationed in Germany. Do I need to apply for a visa?
A: Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents are exempt from German laws and regulations relating to aliens, under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement.

You must be in possession of a copy of your orders and a military identification card when entering Germany. Your dependents should have a military identification card and a valid passport containing certification or a stamp by the military authorities indicating their dependent status. The private household staff is subject to the regular visa requirements and need to apply for a residence and work permit.