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I am to travel to Malta next month for a conference I've been invited to. My host will cater for both travel and accommodation. I have a hotel reservation confirmed by a letter from the hotel to me and an airline reservation made by the assigned travel agency. Now all I have to do is get the Maltese visa. Malta is a Schengen country and I have been going through the Schengen visa requirements.

Here are my questions: I have just finished my university education and waiting to graduate. As such, I have nothing to show for in my bank account statements. I will be applying for the Malta visa at the Austrian embassy in Nairobi since there's no Malta embassy/consulate in Kenya. Will I get a visa in such a situation?

I have been invited in my capacity as a contributing editor to a digital media startup, will I still need a letter to show my occupation, income tax returns of said startup, its certificates of incorporation and the like?

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    Yes you will need those documents you mention. Usually they are provided by conference organisers. – JoErNanO Mar 12 '15 at 7:21
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    The invitation letter to the conference is crucial. If possible, ask the organizers of the conference send an email directly to the embassy where you're applying for the visa. On top of that, the more documents the better. – downhand Mar 12 '15 at 9:52
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Difficult to know if you will get a visa. Your position is less than ideal but we can't predict exactly what will happen.

Regarding the supporting documents, you need to establish three things:

  1. What the purpose of the trip is (that's what the letter of invitation is for)
  2. That you have sufficient “means of subsistence” for your stay and to return to your country (having a return flight and accommodation already booked and paid for would go a long away towards fulfilling this requirement)
  3. That you intend to leave the Schengen area in time and return to your country of residence.

You really need to address all three requirements. Therein lies the rub: Employment, tax returns, etc. do not only show that you can get enough cash for the trip, they also show you have a stable situation to return to (point 3). So they are strongly recommended even if the costs for your trip are fully covered. The letter of invitation is crucial, the details of the hotel, etc. are good but on their own they are not enough.

There is no definitive list of what you should provide, basically the more the better. A good job is most important but showing that you have family ties in your country of residence – young kids or a wife/husband, parents won't do for a young man or woman – or that you own real estate could help too. Without that and without employment or proven income (even with cash on hand and/or everything paid for), the consular officer processing your application might decide that the risk that you would immigrate illegally is too high and refuse the visa.

Also, I guess you knew that already but applying to the Austrian embassy is indeed the right way to proceed, your application won't be rejected for that reason.

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