How to Guide: Certified Copy Of Passport For A Schengen Visa
What Is A Certified Copy Of A Passport For The Schengen Visa?
A “Certified Copy of a Passport” is the photocopy of a passport that is signed and attested by a public official as an accurate and complete reproduction of the original document.
In other words, a certified copy of the passport certifies that the copy is a true copy of the original document.
A certified copy does not confirm that a specific document is authentic/genuine, but only that the copy is a true copy of the original document.
Thus, there is a difference between “authentic” and “original” – an “authentic passport” is a legal travel document issued by a government, while an “original passport” is a travel document that appears to be an authentic passport, but no one can know if it is authentic or not at first glance.
Also, there is a slight difference between a “certified copy” and a “notarised copy” of a document even though some people may believe they are the same. A notarised copy can be signed only by a public notary (just as the name suggests) while a certified copy can be signed by various professional persons and institutions, such as government representatives, public servants, banks, etc. (because notaries are not allowed to certify copies in every state).
However, the term “certified copy” is generally accepted, no matter if a notary public or another professional certified the copy of a specific document.
Submitting a certified true copy of your passport to the Embassy/Consulate is not mandatory since you must also submit your original passport together with all your other documents.
Thus, your passport copy is not as important as other required documents you must submit (e.g., proof of financial means such as your bank statements for the last 6 months to show you have sufficient means of subsistence during your stay in the Schengen Area, application form, travel insurance, employment contract, Personal Tax Return (ITR), hotel reservations, cover letter, etc.)
Nonetheless, we recommend you submit it as it can help the Schengen Visa officers speed up your application process (all optional additional documents can add value to your application).
Important: Before you get a certified passport copy and apply for a Schengen Visa, make sure your passport meets all of the Embassy/Consulate requirements.
Travel Passport – Schengen Visa Requirements
The passport you use to travel to the Schengen country (or Schengen countries) you plan on visiting must:
- Not be older than 10 years
- Be a valid travel document
- Be valid for at least 3 months beyond the date you intend to leave the Schengen Zone (in case of multiple entries – it must be valid 3 months beyond the last day of stay)
- Have at least two empty pages where your valid Visa sticker will be applied
The Importance Of A Certified Passport Copy For Your Schengen Visa
A certified copy of your passport is important for your Schengen Visa application for the following reasons:
● It can help the Visa officers process your application faster
Imagine, for example, you were a Visa officer and received the file of a Schengen Visa applicant (do not forget that the Visa competent authorities receive tens or even hundreds of applications daily).
If you had to check the accuracy of every single passport copy you received (by comparing it with the original document) you would be there forever.
Therefore, having a certified copy of an applicant’s passport that you don’t need to verify (because you already know that it is an accurate and complete reproduction of the original document) will help you save time and process the Schengen Visa applications faster.
● The Embassies/Consulates should keep in their archives the certified copies of the passports of the Schengen Visa applicants
Every Embassy/Consulate has an archive where the files of the Schengen Visa applicants are kept for a specific period of time (most of them are allowed to destroy the archives/records after a specific number of years depending on the laws of each country).
If for any reason the Embassy/Consulate officers need to check an applicant’s file in the archive, it is better for them to have the guarantee that the passport copy of an applicant is an accurate and complete reproduction of the original passport.
Alternatively, the Embassy/Consulate officers could take the passport copies of the Schengen Visa applicants by themselves but this would mean losing time as well – You may think that it takes just a few seconds to make a passport copy but do not forget that the Embassies/Consulates must deal with a very high number of Schengen Visa applications monthly.
How To Get A True Certified Copy Of Your Passport For Your Schengen Visa
The steps you must follow in order to get a certified true copy of your passport vary depending on individual state laws and countries.
Below you will find a few suggestions on how you can get a certified copy of your passport.
However, you must know the rules and the laws in your country of residence in order to understand to whom you should address for getting a certified true copy of your passport.
● If you are not a citizen of your country of residence
Suppose you are an Indian living in the Philippines applying for a Schengen Visa.
In most cases (even though this is not a rule and it can depend as well on the laws of your country of residence) you can get a certified copy of your passport from the Embassy/Consulate of your country (in this case, the Indian Embassy in the Philippines – please note that this is just a random example).
● If you are a citizen of your country of residence
In this case, you must check and see where you can get a certified copy of your passport, according to the laws of your country. One of the following 3 options is likely to be doable for you:
- Have a public notary or attorney certify the copy of your passport – You will need to find a public notary, take your passport with you, and a copy of your passport (some notaries will make the copy for you while some others will request you to provide it) and pay a fee. In some countries, an attorney may charge higher fees than a notary public.
- Choose another professional allowed to certify the copy of your passport – You can ask other professionals (such as teachers, doctors, bankers, or pharmacists) to certify the copy of your passport (even though this law is valid mostly in the UK and other Commonwealth countries such as Australia). Remember that the professional who certifies the copy of your passport must not be related to you in any way (for example, he or she must not be in a relationship with you or live at the same address as you or even be related to you).
- Request your government agency to certify the copy of your passport – In some countries, the government (or state) agencies are allowed to certify the copies of various documents (e.g., Ministry Of External Affairs). If this law applies to your country as well, take your passport with you as well as a copy of it and ask the government agency officers to certify the copy of your passport. Do not forget that the agency may charge you a fee.
Note: You should follow the same steps mentioned above to get a certified copy of your birth certificate for your Schengen Visa application.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Requesting & Submitting A Passport Certified Copy For Your Schengen Visa Application
Getting a certified copy of your passport is easy and there are not too many mistakes you can make when requesting a notary/government agency/another professional to certify it or when submitting it to the Embassy/Consulate for your Schengen Visa application.
Before sharing the mistakes you should avoid when requesting and submitting a certified passport copy for your Visa application, we remind you that your name on your passport MUST match your name on the other documents required (e.g., the documents you submit as proof of financial status, travel medical insurance, letter of invitation or sponsorship, completed and signed application form, marriage certificate, flight reservation, etc.).
For example, if you have two names joined with a hyphen on your passport, your full name must be written on your other documents as it is written on your passport (with a hyphen).
● Not taking your original passport with you when requesting certifications for each copied page
No matter where you get your passport copies certified, you will need to take your original document with you.
The notary/government agency officers/other professionals must check both your passport and the copied pages of your passport in order to declare that the copies are a true copy of the original document.
● Not mentioning the purpose of the copy of your passport (only if required by the law of your country)
In some countries, the notary or the person who is authorised to certify the copy of your passport must write the name of the institution/organisation where the certified copy will be used.
We recommend you discuss with the person who certifies the copy of your passport and ask if an additional sentence can be added to your certified copy (for example – “This certified copy of the passport of [Your full name] will be used at [Name of the Embassy/Consulate where you submit your documents] for the Schengen Visa application”.
● Not getting every page with your Profile, Travel Stamps, and Visas Certified
The Embassy/Consulate officers must check all your previous travel history, meaning that you must get a certified copy of every single page of your passport that contains a Visa (whether you received a non-Schengen Region Visa or a Schengen Region Visa previously) or a stamp that shows you entered a specific country in a specific period of time – as well as the photo page.
Therefore, you can get a certified copy of your passport that includes only your profile page only if all the pages on your passport are empty. Otherwise, you must copy all those pages that contain travel stamps and certified visas as well.
● Photocopying part of a page and cutting off other information
The photocopy of your passport must be as clear as possible. Sometimes, when you make the photocopy of a document you can cut off some information by mistake – for example, the photocopy can show partially the number (ID) of your passport.
Make sure the copy of your passport (the copy of the profile page as well as the copies of the pages that contain previous visas and stamps) are a perfect reproduction of the original document and you didn’t cut off any information (such as numbers or letters).