Guide: Employment Certificate (COE) For Your Schengen Visa
What Is A Certificate Of Employment For Your Schengen Visa Application?
A “Certificate of Employment” (COE) or “Employment Letter” for a Schengen Visa application is a certificate used to verify if someone is currently employed within a company.
A Certificate of Employment is a statement of fact of your employment as it contains relevant information about your employment experience in a company.
Typically, you can request a Certificate of Employment in two different situations:
- At the termination of the employment contract
- For other purposes (while you are currently employed) such as getting a Schengen Visa, work permit, loan, credit card, etc.
The employer has the legal duty to issue a Certificate of Employment upon request by the employee.
The Certificate of Employment is not mandatory for all the Embassies or Consulates. Some of them require it and some of them consider it optional.
Nevertheless, even for those Embassies or Consulates that do not consider it mandatory, they still highly recommend you submit it for two main reasons:
- It can allow them to speed up your Schengen Visa process
- It increases your chances of approval
A Certificate of Employment should contain details about you and the company you are working for (e.g., your full name, company’s name, the position you cover within the company, date and place of birth, passport and ID details, salary, etc.).
Since a Certificate of Employment is different from a cover letter, it should not contain information regarding your skills, achievements, performance or behaviour within the company.
The Certificate of Employment for a Schengen Visa must be written by a representative of the company you are working for such as your manager, the Human Resources manager, the general manager, the president or the vice-president.
However, most of the time the Certificate of Employment is signed by the personnel of the Human Resources Department.
Important – Outside of the Employment Certificate, you should also submit a No Objection Letter (NOC) from your employer, an approved leave of absence, and your Certificate of Employment (COE) as part of your Schengen Visa application process.
Please note that if you are a student or unemployed you must submit a letter of sponsorship written by your parents, relatives, or friends who will be sponsoring your trip to the Schengen Zone.
You can also submit an accommodation invitation letter as proof of sufficient funds, together with the required documents from your school or university.
Why Is A Certificate Of Employment Important For Your Schengen Visa?
You may ask yourself why you cannot submit only your employment contract together with the rest of your documents for your Schengen Visa application process.
You may also ask yourself why this document is mandatory for some Embassies or Consulates and how it can speed up your Schengen Visa process and increase your chances of approval.
Below you will find answers to your questions:
● It provides strong evidence that you are currently employed
Even if you submit your employment contract, the Embassy/ Consulate cannot know for sure that you didn’t quit your job or the employer didn’t fire you in the meantime. For this reason, your Employment Certificate brings proof that you are currently employed.
For the Schengen Visa officers, it is extremely important to have a clear understanding of your employment status in order to determine whether or not you have sufficient funds to cover the expenses during your stay in Europe.
● It provides proof of your intentions to return to your home country
The Employment Certificate for your Schengen Visa proves that you intend to return to your home country because you have a stable job and work commitments (whether or not you are a citizen of your country of residence).
The Schengen Visa officers must check your rootedness to ensure that you will not overstay your Visa and remain in the Schengen Area illegally.
Remember that the main goal of every Schengen Visa applicant is to prove their rootedness and genuine intentions to return from Europe.
● It brings additional proof of your identity
Your employment contract (that is a mandatory Visa requirement) might not contain all the details about you that a Certificate of Employment can provide.
For example, your employment contract can contain only basic information such as your full name and your birth date while the Certificate of Employment can contain further details about you such as your passport and ID number (potentially, residency permit number).
Thus, your employment certification brings additional proof of your identity when applying for a Schengen Visa.
How To Get A Certificate Of Employment For Your Schengen Visa Application
First of all, you should know that you must request the Certificate of Employment after you decide the dates of your travel to the Schengen Area.
Remember that you cannot submit to the Embassy/Consulate a Certificate of Employment issued a long time before applying for your Schengen Visa – we recommend it should not be older than 30 days.
Remember also that employers are required by law to issue without undue delay a Certificate of Employment upon the request of an employee. Usually, it is delivered within 10 days maximum from the date the employee made the request.
We recommend you request the Certificate of Employment no more than two weeks before submitting your documents to the Embassy/Consulate.
In order to get a Certificate of Employment, you should write a letter to your company’s Human Resources Manager (you can also address the letter to your manager/supervisor, according to your company’s organisation.
However, as it was mentioned above, most of the time the Certificate of Employment is signed by the personnel of the Human Resource Department).
Below you will find some suggestions about how to write a Certificate of Employment request letter:
- Use the name of the person you are addressing the letter to. If you do not know the name of the recipient, you can start the letter with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam.”
- Introduce yourself and mention the position you are covering within the company (if you address the letter to the manager you are working directly with, these details are no longer necessary).
- Explain the purpose of the letter and why you need a Certificate of Employment – which is to get a Schengen Visa.
- Outline specific details that the Certificate of Employment must contain (eg, your full name, start date, position in the company, etc) and the date when you need the certificate by.
Here is a sample of how a Certificate of Employment request letter addressed to the Human Resources manager/department should look like:
Dear [Name of Human Resources Manager]/Dear Human Resources Department/, Dear Sir/Madam, To Whom It May Concern,
I, [Your Full Name], have been continuously employed by [Company’s Name] since [Starting Date] in the following role [The Position You Area Covering].
As I am planning to get a Schengen Visa I would like to kindly request from you an Employment Certificate addressed to [Name Of The Embassy/Consulate/Visa Application Center] located at [Address Of The Embassy/Consulate/Visa Application Center].
I will be travelling to [Name Of Schengen Country Or Countries] between [Schengen Area Entry and Exit Dates] for [Travel Purpose].
I would highly appreciate it if you could grant my request by [Date When You Need The Certificate].
In case your records do not include my passport or ID card details, they are [Insert Passport Number, Passport Expiry Date]
[Your Full Name]
Note – You can also attach to the email a copy of your travel airline ticket/ flight reservation with dates and flight numbers. If your employer provides you with travel medical insurance valid in the Schengen countries, we recommend you mention these details on your Employment Certificate.
Important – In cases where your company is not familiar with the Certificate of Employment procedure you can also download our templates and provide them to the person you are addressing your Certificate of Employment request letter to (for more details, do not hesitate to contact us).
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing An Employee Certificate For Schengen Visa
There are several mistakes your company’s representatives can make while they are writing your Certificate Of Employment for your Schengen Visa application.
Therefore, before you submit your documents, it is highly recommended that you double-check what they have provided, in order to be sure that you are not missing vital pieces of information.
Below, you can find a list of common mistakes you must check before you submit your Certificate Of Employment:
● Forgetting to date the document
The document must be issued no more than two or three weeks prior to your Schengen Visa submission.
Thus, adding the date on the Employment Certificate is extremely important.
● No signature at the bottom of the Certificate Of Employment
The person writing the Certificate must sign in in order to validate it.
● Not using a letter headed paper with the company’s logo
If your company’s representatives do not use a letter headed paper to print the Certificate of Employment, the Schengen Visa officers may believe that the Certificate is not genuine.
● Your personal details on the Certificate of Employment do not match the details on your other documents
The details on your Certificate of Employment must match the details on all the other documents you are submitting for your Visa application (e.g., travel insurance, birth certificate, hotel reservations, flight itineraries, day-to-day travel itinerary, bank statements, application form, Personal Income Tax Return (ITR), and other relevant Visa requirements).
● Using the wrong Certificate of Employment sample/template
In case the representatives of your company already have a Certificate of Employment template, make sure they are not going to use one that is usually issued to former employees (a template where it is written that someone “has been employed/was employed” by the company and not that “is currently employed”)
● Forgetting to mention the name of the Embassy/Consulate and the purpose of the Certificate Of Employment
Your Certificate of Employment must clearly highlight the reason as to why the certificate was issued (which is your application for a Schengen Visa) and the name of the Embassy/Consulate where you will be submitting your documents.