Schengen Visa Requirements for Jamaicans
Exploring Europe can be fun. The history, the architecture, the food. But as for like most countries, a visa is required for Jamaicans to visit.
I have already gone through my 5th Schengen visa. In addition, it is also one of the most commonly asked questions across my social media platforms.
Planing a trip soon to Europe or thinking of visiting one day… Here are all your questions answered in order to obtain the visa like a boss (if you’re a Jamaican passport holder).
What’s a Schengen Visa
The Schengen visa is a requirement imposed on citizens from a list of countries wanting to enter Europe.
The Schengen area comprises of a group of counties that has similar interests, laws. It is made up of 26 European countries all of which uses the same visa; hence the Schengen visa.
In similar form or in Caribbean terms, the Schengen is like CARICOM. Though, it is way much more tightly knitted.
There are 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone.
26 countries with similar interests and well… the same visa works for all.
Once you have been granted the visa you can realistically use the same visa and visit all 26 countries in one go once your travel plans are 90 days are less. Though, the embassy must be aware of your travel plans.
In addition, here are the 26 countries that currently apart of the Schengen zone:Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Which Embassy to apply for the Schengen Visa: The Schengen visa explained.
Here’s how the Schengen visa really works. I will try to break it down as easy as possible.
If you are visiting only 1 country in the Schengen zone you will need to apply for the visa from that embassy. For example, if you will be visiting Germany, you will need to the German consulate in Kingston.
Though, this is where the process gets a little complicated.
If you will be country-hopping, visiting more than 1 country on your trip; say for example Germany, Spain, France then choosing which embassy to apply for your visa depends on a few things.
Using Germany, Spain, France as an example, you will need to apply for the visa from the county you’ll be either entering into first or the one you’ll be spending most of your time.
To put this into perspective, say for example you will be spending 12 days aboard in total. You will be flying to Frankfurt, Germany staying for 2 days then another 2 days in France and then the rest of you time in Spain. You are often advised to apply for the Schengen visa from the Spanish embassy.
How long is the Visa for.
You are allotted the duration of your trip. The tourist visas are single entry. Very rare they are otherwise. If you will be travelling for 12 days, your visa is for 12 days.
On a few of my past visas, I can see where they have given me a few extra days (up to a week) but that’s as flexible as it gets.
Bare in mind that each Schengen visa is up to 90 days per visit. Though, you won’t be allotted with the entire 90 days if your trip doesn’t last that long.
For every visit you will need to apply for a new visa. The fee is different depending on the embassy.
What special info is required to apply for the Schengen visa for Jamaicans.
Applying for the Schengen visa is similar to applying for the US visa: the bank statements, the job letters, the itineraries etc.
Though for the Schengen visa you are required to have travel insurance with at least US30,000 coverage, hotel reservations. It can be a piece of work but once you get it right you should be all set.
Also, please note that if your visa is not processed you are not charged the fee unlike the US embassy.
Be sure to check the embassy’s website for the most updated info.
Things to know before you go:
The visa fee is usually processed in USD cash or credit card. Be sure to have the exact change if you’ll be paying in cash.
Many of you have asked which EU embassy do I usually visit. The German consulate is my go-to embassy for Europe.
Be sure to have your hotel reservations booked or reserved. Any changes regarding hotel reservations, itineraries before the visa is granted is strongly not recommended.
I made the mistake in making chances to my hotel reservations before my visa was granted early last year. It took a second interview and delayed the process by two weeks. I have been granted visas from this particular embassy before and have proven to have a super clean travel record. In any other case, the application would have been firmly denied.