As a result of this announcement, tour operators have been asked to reschedule group trips for a later time to ensure that visas can be submitted and issued in a timely manner before the travel date.
A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa granting individuals the opportunity to travel to any member country within the Schengen Area for tourism or business purposes. The visa allows a stay of up to 90 days.
The Schengen visa allows tourists to visit 26 European countries. Considered the most common visa for Europe, the Schengen visa provides its holder with the freedom to enter, travel within, and exit the Schengen zone from any member country. Notably, the Schengen Area is characterized by the absence of border controls, allowing for seamless travel within the region.
However, Schengen authorities maintain a strict approach and have been known to reject visa applications for minor reasons. Several factors can lead to such rejections, including incomplete documentation, insufficient financial proof, and a lack of detailed travel itineraries. According to a report, India lost about Rs 90 crore in Schengen visa rejection fee in 2022.
The Swiss embassy in Delhi cites a lack of staff and an overwhelming number of applications as the reasons for the processing delays. This issue is not limited to Indian tourists, as travellers from China also face similar challenges when trying to visit Switzerland in groups.
Switzerland’s Federal Department of Foreign Affairs acknowledges the problem and states that the country is currently processing 94 percent of the visa applications that were available in 2019. However, many other Schengen countries are still facing difficulties in restoring their visa capacities from 2019, resulting in delays.
For anyone applying for a Switzerland Schengen visa, several documents must be submitted, including a completed and signed Swiss visa application form, a valid passport, two passport photos, and copies of previous visas. Additionally, applicants must provide a round-trip flight itinerary, proof of accommodation in Switzerland, evidence of sufficient financial means, and travel health insurance coverage, among other requirements.