Schengen visa interview questions & answers
Interviews are an integral part of visa applications to most countries in the world. Sometimes it might seem that the questions just ask the same stuff that you already wrote in your application form and/or submitted documents. But the truth is - it is much more than a method to collect the information. Yes, the things you say are important as they might make your application better or worse. But what the officers are often looking for are different other clues or intangible information that you give across just by your behaviour or appearance.
One of the ways to get the best chances is to be informed about the actual process - the fewer variables are unknown, the less nervous one might get when entering that office. And knowing Schengen visa interview questions answers one of the most important concerns of many applicants. How to pass Schengen visa interview without sabotaging my own chances at getting it? All of these are valid reasons why you need to read whatever I have to say in this article! We will start with some general information and Schengen visa interview tips. For example, do you know how long does it take to get Schengen visa after interview? I am about to disclose that if you don’t. But even more importantly, you will hear the most common Schengen visa interview questions alongside the desired type of answers the officers would expect to hear. Shall we begin?
What is a Schengen visa, and why would I want to ace the interview?
It is very likely you don't need to hear this, but I will say it anyway. Most people from outside the EU are quite keen on getting their hands on a Schengen visa because it allows entering most European Union countries. It is one visa to almost the whole continent, and that is a tempting prospect, indeed.
Who needs to attend a Schengen visa interview?
This requirement is very dependent on your nationality and your previous experience with travels to Schengen countries. In some embassies, they might have a requirement to interview every applicant without exception, but in other places, they might be more liberal and invite over only the ones that seem suspicious. There is no definite way of knowing what your particular situation will be, but you might get some hints from other travellers who have tried obtaining a Schengen visa in the same embassy before you. Talk to people you know or read information online to see if you can find out something more. It is smart talking to frequent travellers that could give you a comparison of different cases of applying.
How long does it take to get Schengen visa after interview?
The good news is that the processing time is usually not too long. One would expect their visa application processed on average in about 15 working days. But let’s get to the main topic - some common Schengen visa interview questions.
Schengen visa interview questions answers
Let’s start with more general Schengen tourist visa interview questions. These will relate to most visa types.
First, you can expect to hear every question about the technical details of your trip.
• What is the purpose of your trip?
• How long are you planning to stay in the Schengen zone?
• When will you travel? Why is the trip so long? Can't you stay for a shorter time?
• Have you booked your tickets?
• Where do you plan on staying during your trip?
The answers to all of these questions should be logical and truthful. Be confident with explaining your plans, and if possible, mention particular details that you already know. It gives them the impression that you have a plan and makes you look more reliable. Additionally, always make sure the answers are exactly the same as in your application form because this might cause suspicion and make your visa application revoked. Whenever possible and logical, it is also smart to have an already prepaid flight confirmation and accommodation booking that you can show - that displays the commitment to the deed. For your own sake, of course, if you pay anything upfront, please make sure you are choosing options with a free reimbursement in case the visa does not get granted. Some Schengen tourist visa interview questions like “can you stay a shorter amount of days" are mostly asked to throw you off guard and see your reaction. It is smart that you answer calmly why you would need to stay the amount mentioned in the application. But staying open for a shorter trip in case they don't grant the full amount is also a smart approach.
The next group of questions is about the previous travel experience to the Schengen area and other countries.
• Have you ever visited a country in the Schengen zone? What did you do there?
• Why should you get this visa?
• How can we be sure that you will return back to your home country?
Most of these questions will be asked to make sure that you leave Schengen after the visa expires indeed. One of the worst concerns for visa officers is the fact that some people would consider getting a tourist visa and decide to move to Europe illegally beyond their allowed timeframe. Your task at these questions would be to answer truthfully again and make sure you give reasons for leaving afterwards that are convincing enough. Additionally, if you have already been to this area many times before and have caused no problems, then you might seem more reliable as an applicant for a recurring visa.
Another type of question you might encounter is concerned with your family or friends.
• Where do you live, and does this property belong to you?
• Are you married, and do you have kids?
• Do you have any relatives or friends in the country/countries you plan on visiting?
Yet another set of questions to make sure that you are coming back after the end of your visa. Having family and kids back at home increases your reliability. And if you do have family or friends that you intend to visit, it is better you prepare a ready list with their names and other details to ensure credibility in the eyes of your officer, too. When answering these questions, make sure to specify that you are going to the country for tourism and visitation only, and you do not intend to stay there longer.
The next group of questions relates to your professional activities. Some of these overlap, especially with Schengen business visa interview questions and Schengen student visa interview questions and answers.
• What do you do? Are you studying or working?
• What are you studying, and are you on a scholarship there?
• Have you looked into study options in a Schengen country?
• Where do you work, and how long have you been working there?
• Do you have proof of temporary leave from your employer (that proves your absence during this trip)?
These are a different set of questions that prove the connections you have back at home. As a rule, the more connections you have back at home, the more chances you are returning. Keep this in mind and answer the questions accordingly, giving enough detail to display the reliability of your information.
The last, but definitely not the least, are the questions about your finances.
• How will you fund this trip?
• How much do you earn?
• How much do you plan to spend on the whole trip?
Quite obviously, they are trying to see if you can take care of your travel-related finances on your own. Alternatively, if someone else is paying for it, give them detailed information about the sponsor. Why is it important? It is yet another proof that you do not intend to find an illegal job in a Schengen country, even if a short one.
Let’s wrap this up. As I mentioned before already - many of these questions will overlap for other visa types, too. For example, Schengen student visa interview questions and answers will revolve more around the study process itself and your future plans within the profession. But Schengen business visa interview questions will want to ensure the legitimacy of your business intentions and that you are not planning on getting employed during your travel as this requires completely different authorization.
As you might have understood, one of the most useful Schengen visa interview tips is staying truthful and calm during your interview. After all, there is nothing to be nervous about if you are just telling your actual motivations and don't plan on misusing the wonderful possibility to enter the Schengen area for whatever reasons you have. Additionally, keep in mind that the goal of the officials is usually to find discrepancies and suspicious details in the application or when talking to you in person and being genuine decreases the chances of their suspicion. But all in all, I hope this information has helped you to understand how to pass Schengen visa interview in flying colours. Because being prepared is already half of the success, isn't it?
Ieva Miltina is an activist and entrepreneur of many sorts. By profession project manager of marketing and culture events, in her heart she is a passionate traveler and a cook, soon to become a pastry chef. Deeply rooted in non-formal education she has been involved in youth work since her teenage years and up till nowadays holds a deep interest in innovative approaches to learning and personal development, which she transfers to people from all Europe during various international trainings. Always looking for new discoveries and adventures she happily shares her positive view on the world and the neverending stories with the people who cross her path. While studying hospitality and tourism management she wrote a thesis on home-chefs, which ignited her dream of owning her cozy and heartwarming home restaurant, which will hopefully materialize very soon. Meanwhile writing articles and doing food photography she is working towards another dream of hers - becoming a published author someday.