Like other visa nationalities, Russians, whether they are Russian passport holders or Russian permanent citizens, are required to apply for Schengen Visa to legally enter Schengen Zone. In this article, you will learn about applying for Schengen Visa in Russia, Schengen Visa application guidelines, requirements, fees and list of Schengen embassies and consulates in Russia.
Throughout the years, Russia has retained the top spot in the list of countries whose residents submit most Schengen Visa applications. In 2018 alone, a mammoth 16 million itinerants submitted Schengen Visa applications.
Since 2013, the numbers of Schengen Visa applications have almost dropped by half. Back then in 2013, as many as 6995141 Schengen Visa applications were lodged by the Russians. Despite a whopping 50pc drop, Russian Federation remains on the top of the table for Schengen visa demand.
Speaking statistically, 23pc of the total Schengen Visa applications were lodged by the Russians. 24.2pc of the Russians had successfully applied for multiple-entry Schengen Visa.
Fortunately, the rejection rate of Schengen Visa applications submitted from Russia is at a historical low of 1.3pc as Russian citizens are greeted with open arms in the Schengen Zone.
What are Schengen Area and Schengen Visa?
The Schengen Area is a zone comprising as many as 26 countries that have abolished their national borders in favor of a single uniform border. The signatories have done so to facilitate the unrestricted movement of their citizens, curbing the rate of corruption, unorganized and organized crimes through the common judicial system and common police.
That said, a Schengen Visa allows its owner to navigate freely in the whole Schengen Area without being subjected to border checks.
Agreement between Russian Federation and Schengen Countries
For Russian citizens and passport holders, the Schengen Visa process is relatively easier, briefer and cheaper.
The Russian Federation and the Schengen authorities inked an agreement in 2007. The same agreement has also been inked with ten other countries by the Schengen states. The agreement between Russian Federation and member states of the Schengen Area exempts Russian passport holders from paying hefty visa fees, saving them from submitting a myriad number of visa docs and to follow a very hectic and time-consuming Schengen Visa application procedure.
The agreement exempts certain groups of Russian passport holders from paying the colossal visa fees whereas others pay a nominal 60 euros only.
Types of Schengen Visas
Schengen Visa is classified into Schengen Tourist/Visit Visa, Schengen Education Visa, Schengen Medical Visa, and Schengen Business Visa.
Certain limitations are applied to each category of the Schengen Visa. For instance, a person in possession of the Schengen Tourist Visa is not permitted to look out for employment opportunities. Likewise, a person in possession of Schengen Business may be allowed to work for a certain period.
Uniform Schengen Visas
The Uniform Schengen Visa is valid in the whole Schengen Area and its holder can navigate across the visa-free zone. A person with a uniform Schengen visa exempts its owner from applying for nation-specific visas. A Uniform Schengen Visa can be modified based on the entry and exit requirements of the traveler. For example:
A single entry USV permits its holder to the Schengen Area for only once. Once you leave the Schengen Area, then you’re not allowed to enter again for 180 days although, the validity of the single-entry Schengen Visa is also 90 days.
A double-entry Schengen Visa allows its holder to enter twice in the Schengen Area for 90 days within a period of 180 days.
A multiple-entry Schengen Visa allows its holders to enter and exit the Schengen Zone as many times as they wish for 90 days within the period of 180 days.
Limited Territorial Validity Visas
A limited territorial Schengen Visa is usually availed by the individuals who have a business in a certain area of the Schengen Zone. Such visa holders are bound legally to not stay in other parts of the Schengen countries other than a pre-selected set of nations.
The National Visa or Residence Permit is usually sought after by those applicants who want either to study or work in the Schengen Zone for a period exceeding the 90-day threshold.
Schengen visa application process for Russian citizens
Below is the ultimate guide pertaining to applying for Schengen Visa in Russia:
Pick the visa category you belong to:
In the outset, the itinerant will visa category that he/she belongs to. It may be Schengen Tourist Visa, Schengen Medical Visa, Schengen Education Visa or Schengen Business Visa.
After picking up a Schengen Visa category, the itinerant will apply to secure an appointment with the embassy or consulate’s staffers. Nearly all of the member states of the Schengen Zone have embassies and consulates spread out across the Russian Federation. As per rules crafted by the Schengen authorities, visa applicants are allowed to apply for their Schengen visas in one of two embassies:
The embassy of the country where they are starting their travel.
The embassy of the country where they are residing the longest.
Let us decipher the aforementioned rules for you with an example. Suppose you want to visit Spain and Portugal. Spain is the country that you are planning to enter first while Portugal is the country that you are planning to stay the longest. In that scenario, you can apply for Schengen Visa from Russia at either of the embassies or consulates of the country.
Generally, visa officials take up to three weeks to process a Schengen Visa application. As stated above, the Schengen Visa process has been simplified for Russians as a result of mutual understanding between the Russian Federation and the Schengen authorities. In Russia, Schengen Visa authorities process the application within a duration of two weeks. It’s best to apply a month or two in advance to ensure you have plenty of time to get the visa. You can find the list of embassies in Russia here.
Now that you’ve figured out the category of the visa and relevant embassy or consulate, next you’ll need a Schengen Visa application form. The form entails personal and professional information. The information includes age, marital status, income, education and so on. It is strongly recommended to submit information honestly as any discrepancy will only result in visa rejection.
With the application, you’ll need to submit certain documents to the embassy where you’ve applied. These applications include:
2 passport size pictures. The photos should not be taken in a period exceeding three months. The photos should be taken in a white background and there must not be any software correction.
A valid passport. The passport must be issued within the last ten years and must have at least two blank pages and must be valid at least 3 months after the expiration date of the visa.
Copy of travel medical insurance amounting to a minimum coverage of €30,000 or $50,000.
NOC from the employee.
Submit biometric data
A face-to-face interview is the most important process in your visa application process. The visa officers grill the applicant to make sure that the latter has no malicious intentions and wants to enter Schengen Zone purely for the reasons mentioned in the docs.
Receive the visa application result via post
Finally, a few days after the visa application process, you will receive a postal mail from the embassy with information as to whether or not you have cleared the visa application process successfully.