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I plan to visit various EU countries like Germany, Netherlands, France, Spain or Portugal in a span of 25-30 days.

I have a friend currently living in Germany who is a student ( and who I want to meet) willing to write sponsorship letter as I suspect my monthly income would be a problem when applying for Visa. He's an Indian as well and has been living there for a year. Is this a viable way for me to get tourist visa? If yes please suggest for any other conditions / documents that to that I'll need to provide to the visa office.

If no, please suggest for ways that I can obtain a Tourist Visa. As I really want to visit Europe. It has been a childhood dream of mine.

Thank you

  • 37
    You mention a sponsorship letter from your friend, but how will you actually be paying for your trip? Even a budget trip to these countries for 25-30 days will cost a substantial portion of your annual income. Are you saying your friend will give you the money as a gift, or do you have savings or some other source of funds? – Zach Lipton Nov 10 at 5:40
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    Sponsorship letters are worthless. I know they seem valuable when you have nothing else, but they are still worthless, and only serve to illuminate the fact that you have nothing else. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Nov 10 at 14:06
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    Those countries you want to visit are among the most expensive in the world. I am from Central Europe and I still avoided those for my travel swhen I was a student with not much money. From your description it seems unlikely you are able to afford such a trip. I wasn't either at those times. A night in a European hotel was an expensive luxury for us. – Vladimir F Nov 10 at 17:40
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    @VladimirF Living in hotels in western Europe for a month would be an expensive luxury for almost anyone who lives there too – JollyJoker Nov 11 at 8:52
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    You have a "friend", you have not met, who wants you to travel thousands of miles to a place where you know no-one, and you will have little money or independent means when you are there. This sounds dangerous.This may not be a genuine situation! It may be one which places you in considerable danger. Be Careful! – Ben Nov 11 at 15:48
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I'm sorry, but you are not in a financial position to travel around Europe right now, and you would be well advised to wait until you have a larger income or savings to fund your trip.

190 euros/month is 6 euros a day. Not only is this insufficient to travel, but in much of Europe it's not enough for a single meal if you're eating out. Generally speaking (it's a wide area with varying prices), a realistic rock-bottom backpacker budget in Western Europe is around 50 euros/day, meaning you'd want around 1,500 euros -- that's 8 months' salary for you -- saved up.

The only way you could possibly make this work now is if you live at your friend's place (so no accommodation costs), cook all meals at home, and stick to free attractions reachable on foot/bicycle from their place. This would be incredibly limiting and unlikely to be worth the considerable expenses of flight tickets, visas etc, and it's highly unlikely your visa would be approved if this is what you claim to do.

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    Note that he didn't say that all he had was 190€ for travelling - I'm guessing he has some savings as he has to pay the flight as well. He is asking about the possibility of getting a visa with that income + other factors. – Cribber Nov 12 at 14:42
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    His question is only about how to get the visa, not about how to fund his trip, you don't know what OP can or can't afford. 50€ a day and not being able to get a meal for 6€ is as incorrect as it is unhelpful. – S.. Nov 12 at 17:16
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    The idea that you can't eat for €6/day is incorrect. As is the idea that the "minimum" is 50 euros/day. If you have a place to stay, you would be fine with 10-20 euros/day. Hundreds of thousands of people travel with less. The commenter probably has in mind some middle class middle age travel standards, not backpacking as a young person... – Hejazzman Nov 12 at 18:49
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    @Hejazzman I stated that €6 is easily the cost of a single meal when eating out, not that you can't self-cater for that amount. And FWIW, I hitchhiked for a month in Japan with a total budget of $300 :P – lambshaanxy Nov 13 at 3:44
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    @Hejazzman Backpacking will cost you a minimum of 20 euros a day for youth hostel, so even if you never go to a restaurant or bar that's easily 30 euros a day. Even then, he doesn't want to stay in the same city, let alone country, so the 50 euros a day is indeed a good average when you take everything into account. – Shautieh Nov 13 at 10:50
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You may be able and willing to spend more than your monthly salary on a trip-of-a-lifetime.

You need to calculate two numbers, how much money you have available to spend and how much money your planned trip will cost.

For available money, include savings you are willing to spend, gifts from relatives, and any money your potential sponsor plans to give you.

For the cost, put together a plan for what you want to visit. It does not have to be your final plan, but it has to be feasible, given the available money, and the sort of tour you are planning. Do not forget admission fees for museums and other places you want to visit, as well as a place to sleep each night and meals each day. Each time you plan to move from one location to another, you need to budget travel cost. Also budget cost of travel between Mumbai and Europe. Much of the information about costs is available online.

You will probably find the cost is greater than the available money. If so, do not waste time and money on a visa application. As your financial situation improves, re-run the calculation until the amount you are able and willing to spend exceeds the cost.

There are additional considerations such as ties to your home country and general reasonableness of the plan that will also affect whether you can get a visa, but there is no chance at all without a financially feasible travel plan.

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    Even if OP could find the money by using all existing savings and saving additional funds for several months, the visa officer will find it very, very suspect for them to spend that much money for tourism. Also, such a low salary will not even be considered for “strong ties to the home country”, which is the other big issue at play here. IMHO, unless OP forgot to mention significantly different circumstances, the chances of getting a visa in this context seem awfully slim. – jcaron Nov 10 at 16:34
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    @jcaron Agreed. A financially feasible travel plan is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for getting a visa. The OP needs to look at general reasonableness and ties to home country, but there is no point considering those things until there is a feasible plan. I will edit to include that point. – Patricia Shanahan Nov 10 at 17:27
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    @Ivana The last two paragraphs explicitly address the visa issue. And, in general, the big picture is often just as important as the explicit question. Your comment comes across as unnecessarily snide. Please be nice. – David Richerby Nov 12 at 21:56
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I assume your friend is willing to go to the Ausländerbehörde (foreigner office) and sign a Verpflichtungserklärung (sponsorship form). This would imply that you are travelling on a visitor visa rather than a tourism visa.

The Verpflichtungserklärung is a formal document in which your friend declares that he will accept any financial responsibilities that may arise from your visit. If there are any problems that lead to detention or even deportation, the related costs will be collected from your sponsor.

The Ausländerbehörde will mark on that document whether his income is above a certain threshold and if (and how) both of you are related (e.g. siblings, cousins, not related etc). The data from this document is then sent to the German embassy abroad, and (I think) additionaly you are expected to hand in the document when you apply for a visa. If your sponsor said that you are related, the embassy may also request evidence such as birth certificates.

My limited experience with the whole process is

  • Sponsorship letters from people that do not meet the income threshold are only useful if the sponsored person has a sufficient regular income. Since your sponsor is a student and you do not have much money either, this looks like a rather big problem.
  • In some places (varies from Bundesland to Bundesland or even from town to town), it is possible to replace this monthly income requirement with a financial deposit of several thousand Euros. But I am not really sure if that is considered a full equivalent to a monthly income or not. In any case, this means that the sponsor pays the deposit to the Ausländerbehörde and gets it back after you have returned to your home country and shown your passport (with exit stamp) at the embassy (in case you decide you do not want to travel, the sponsor gets his money back after the visa expires and you show your passport (without entry stamp) at the embassy). Note that if things go wrong, your sponsor will still be held responsible for any costs caused by you that exceed the deposit.
  • Sponsorship letters from friends are a lot less useful than sponsorship letters from family members. The reasoning probably has to do with family members being more aware of the financial risks involved in these sponsorship letters.
  • Even if you hand in a sponsorship letter from a relative with a good monthly income, the visa can still be denied. This is more likely if you are young, do not have a good job and/or property, are unmarried and do not have children.

Additionally, the embassy will require a health insurance for the Schengen area, so at least this rather considerable financial risk is already taken care of.

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    "Note also that there is a minimum required amount (income) that a host/sponsor should meet in order to be approved and it is different from municipality to another. In our case, it was a minimum of 1,200€ monthly net income to host both my parents." - from foxyfolksy.com/formal-obligation-verpflichtungserkarung – JollyJoker Nov 11 at 7:44
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    You can actually sign such a letter without such an income but it will not be marked with "Bonität glaubhaft gemacht" and will be worth a lot less. The exact amount also depends on the number of people the sponsor has to support in Germany (if he has family on his own) – Jan Nov 11 at 7:47
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    "it is (was?) possible to replace this monthly income requirement with a financial deposit of several thousand Euros" - and in the past it was abused by groups of people pooling their money together, applying one by one, and then transferring the money to the next one. This is why nowadays a full banking history is required, and a large lump sum appearing from nowhere raises a lot of suspicion. – vsz Nov 11 at 12:31
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    @vsf: "Deposit" means your sponsor gets it back after you have returned to your home country and shown your passport (with exit stamp) at the embassy. Not sure how your scenario counts as "abuse" in this context. But if you google for Verpflichtungserklärung and Kaution you can easily find out this is actually still possible in some places, so my reply needs an update. – Jan Nov 11 at 13:09
  • @Jan I think vsz was thinking of a different situation, where you show that you have funds on deposit in your bank account, rather than actually making a deposit with the government that is returned after you leave. In the former case, multiple people could then pass the same funds around between their bank accounts after each one gets their visa. Of course, that can't be done with the type of deposit you're talking about. – reirab Nov 12 at 4:40
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I am an Indian ,the salary you have mentioned is low even in Indian standards. It is not sufficient to live a decent life even in Mumbai. Now think about those developed countries where everything is expensive compared to India. So earn more, save more then plan your trip accordingly. Hope I made my point.

6

The plane ticket is about 450 return from india, possibly 550. The insurance is 20. visa is 70.

You can do the Via Rhona by BIKE with 2 bags on the back wheel. thousands of europeans cycle all over france on bike and many many sleep in forests on a ground-mat with a sleeping bag and wash in the rivers, it costs 10 per day to eat, and you can cover 100km per day and have an amazing experience, but you have to arrange coutchsurfing every few days to socialize or you will be get bored. Via rhona is perhaps the cheapest and most interesting thing to do in the EU... do it with your friend from Germany!

When you arrive, you'll have to avoid hotels every time. So that means a good couchsurfing profile, because it has millions of european peeople of all creeds with free houses. and you may as well come in summer because in spring and autumn, it is often under 13' at night. So if you find some trekking friends and go trekking for a few days, it will be warm.

If you want to do it very cheap, go to one of the most increadible tourist region national parks with a little city and lots of little villages, in europe, where it is also warm enough to sleep every night, there are lots of wild places where you can hide a bag with a matress and some food and wash your clothes in the river, and see 500 year old historic villages. I am thinking particularly of Luberon national park, which is full of millionaires with porshes and huge mercedes, strange white mountains, villages made of old stones like castles from LOTR... You can go near the river and camp out in any bit of forest that you see on google maps, at night in summer it is around 17'C at the coldest at night. I went there once for 10 days with my bike it cost me $10 per day for food, 1$ for a tin of fish, 1$ for bread, 2$ for a can or something, and the rest was like fruit which is very expensive. The only thing you can't do in southern europe in the summer is light fires near the forests, ever. If you couchsurf most of the time and do a bit of bike and camping, you can get away with 12$ per day spending money plus 250$ safety money.

Hitchike everywhere, transport in europe is about 15$ per 100 kilometers, so if you go from germany to spain, that's 0 by hitchiking but you will see traffic all day for 20 days.

best go through the via rhona, research it online, buy a bike locally for 20$ on Leboncoin website and put some bags on it. 60% of french people are unable to have fluent conversations in english ( im french btw) so you have to find english speakers on couchsurf.

you can an organization in Europe which will place you with a family or a farm or a community project, or a building project, or some kind of working project where everyone helps everyone out and there are common meals at the end of the day. Those options are subject to your own persistence in networking, research and communication.

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    One problem is that if you do not have enough income at home, you do not get visa, no matter how cheap you can actually travel. – Willeke Nov 10 at 22:00
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    See Article 21(5) in the Schengen Visa Code which bases required "means of subsistence" on "average prices in the Member State(s) concerned for board and lodging in budget accommodation" – Patricia Shanahan Nov 11 at 8:53
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    In france it is legal to bivouac nearly anywhere... it means that you undo your tent every morning, travel or whatever, dont stay the day at your camp, dont leave pollution... Sleeping in wilds is perfectly legal in France and many other eu states. and India too. 1/figure of speech 2/ cyclists learn to wash with 2 liters of water and soap after 5 hours of bike. Washing that salty sweat off every day and rinsing with a liter is paradise itself. A river is luxury. ... what is being globalized in Europe feminine safety and local customs. – com.prehensible Nov 11 at 12:21
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    @com.prehensible Funds parking is only likely to hurt a visa application - not help it. – J... Nov 11 at 12:50
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    @com.prehensible "russians can start their schengen journey in estonia very easily compared to the UK" I do not advise anyone, Russian or not, to try starting a Schengen journey in the UK, because the UK isn't in the Schengen area, and doesn't issue Schengen visas. I take your point, but the error makes what you wrote appear as rather a disposable and under-informed comment, which it might not actually be. – MadHatter supports Monica Nov 11 at 12:54
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I backpacked for about 3 years continuously. I have met many people who travel with no money, many who started traveling with no money, and many more who had very little money (including me).

Finding somewhere to stay:

  1. There is a system called "work exchange" where you go and work somewhere a small amount a day (helping on a farm, cleaning a store, teaching a language) in exchange for room and board. Check out websites like HelpX, WWOOF.
  2. There is such thing as "couch surfing" where you can stay in someones house for free, usually for a few nights. It's not hard to find a place to stay. Try the website Couchsurfing.
  3. If you have friends overseas, usually they will overjoyed to have you stay with them. If you don't have friends overseas, language exchange sites and internet communities can be a great place to meet them.
  4. Camping. A day camped is a day you don't have to pay for a bed.

Finding something to eat:

  1. As mentioned previously, work exchange often includes free food.
  2. Friends may help you with food.
  3. You can shop at local supermarkets instead of eating out, this usually quarters your food budget at the very least. Remember that every country has poor people that buy food somewhere.
  4. Foraging, fishing. A day foraging or fishing is a day without paying for food.

It is going to be a long journey from India to Europe. These options can get you there, but they are mainly for travel once you are in Europe:

  1. Despite what movies may tell you, hitch hiking is pretty safe. You can readily find rides all over Europe.
  2. Again, friends and work exchange.
  3. Walking, running, cycling, there are many free or cheap options for travel.
  4. When buying plane tickets, remember to use a website like Sky Scanner, Webjet, etc which will find you the rock bottom prices and can search entire months and multiple carriers and will automatically check transfers, and split your return ticket.

Income while travelling:

  1. Often you can find work under the table, but I do not recommend this as it could get you deported and barred from future entry.
  2. Work/Holiday visa might be available to you.
  3. Work online. There are plenty of jobs you can do online to supplement your income. Better yet, often they have competitive wages even for western countries.
  4. Blogging, profiting off your travel. Even meager ad dollars from a blog, youtube, or instagram go a long way. What's more, having that reach and audience will help you connect with people who will help you on your travels.

What can you do for free while in Europe:

  1. Be in Europe. I know it sounds silly, but you want to experience being in Europe right? That might not entail doing anything particularly touristy.
  2. Visit free events. There are usually events going on in any city at any time.
  3. Talk to the locals, meet new people, hang out with friends.
  4. Admire the scenery, the landscape, the architecture, the history.

There is no reason why you couldn't do this if you really wanted to and were willing to make sacrifices and reduce luxury.

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    Just as in other answers, the problem is not the money actually used while traveling but the money and/or steady income to get the visa. – Willeke Nov 13 at 9:06
  • @Willeke That's a fairly academic question. It isn't common to have your bank accounts investigated by border agents, and your country of entry will change this wildly (for example some newer entries to the EU/poorer countries don't even have computer systems to check visas). Maybe someone can confirm to OP exactly which entry points will not check their visa or bank account, but most of them won't. – user105513 Nov 14 at 1:45
  • They do not need to check a bank account at the border, they check whether you have a visa, no visa no entry. The visa officers check the financial situation. – Willeke Nov 14 at 5:36
  • @Willeke Maybe a visa official can comment. It's highly irregular for this kind of check to be made for a normal visa. It is more common to be checked at the border. – user105513 Nov 14 at 5:45

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