Guide: Schengen Visa Employee’s Approved Leave Of Absence
What Is A Schengen Visa Approved Leave Of Absence For Employees?
A “Schengen Visa Approved Leave of Absence” is the permission an employee gets from the employer to be away from work for a specific period of time to visit the Schengen Area.
The leave of absence can be paid or unpaid, according to your employment policies and the collective bargaining agreements.
The leave of absence can be protected by law or not protected by law. When you make a leave of absence request to get a Schengen Tourist Visa, your leave of absence is not protected by the law of your country (because visiting the Schengen Area is not considered an emergency, as when you request a sick leave).
Therefore, it is up to your employer to decide whether to approve your leave of absence for a specific period or not.
Is the Employee Approved Leave Of Absence Mandatory For Your Visa Application?
For most Embassies/Consulates, this document is optional.
Other documents related to your employment background, such as the No Objection Letter (NOC), the Certificate of Employment (COE), and other relevant letters may be considered more important.
The reason why the leave of absence approval from your employer is an optional document for most Embassies/Consulates is that your leave dates must also be mentioned on the No Objection Letter (NOC) – and you cannot ask your employer for a No Objection Certificate until your leave of absence is approved.
Also, your leave of absence letter should not contain other details outside of your approved leave dates (e.g. your monthly salary, how long you’ve been covering your job position, etc.) as this information is not relevant for the purpose of the letter.
What Type Of Approved Leave Should You Submit For Your Visa Application?
According to the laws of your home country and your employment policy, the leave of absence you request for your application can be either formal annual leave, long service leave, or approved absence without pay (in most countries, there are statutory agreements for the minimum period that an employee leaves from work).
The approved leave from your employer can be a “formal approval letter” (a letter written on headed paper that includes the company’s logo and contains the stamp and the signature of your employer) or a simple email you may receive from the Human Resources department.
The approved leave of absence has to be written by a representative of your company (such as your manager or your supervisor). Typically, the employees’ leave of absence falls within the responsibility of the Human Resources (HR) department.
Although the leave of absence approval from your employer is not the most important document you have to submit with your application, remember that your leave request is the first significant step in your Visa application process (because you cannot apply for a Schengen Visa and travel if you don’t have the permission of your employer).
Important: If you are a student, you still need to get permission to leave from your School or University.
However, it is not necessary for you to submit an “approved leave of absence for students”. It is enough if you submit a NOC Letter for Students (for further details, please check out this guide – you can also use it to download the most appropriate “Template and Sample – No Objection Letter for Students” and fill it in with the information requested.
The Importance of The Employee’s Approved Leave For The Schengen Visa Application
Even if the employee approved leave is not mandatory for your application, we recommend you submit it for the following reasons:
- It brings additional proof that you are actually employed – For the Embassies/Consulates it is important to ensure you have contractual obligations in your country of residence because this provides strong evidence of your intentions to return home and leave the Schengen Region.
- It adds consistency with all of the rest of your documents – The Visa officers will carefully check to see if all the dates mentioned in your documents match. For example, your leave dates must match your flight dates and the dates within countries must match your hotel reservations, etc. Therefore, the dates specified on your employee leave of absence document must match the leave dates on your No Objection Letter (NOC), as well as your flight dates and your hotel reservation dates.
- If your company allows you to take a paid leave of absence (this detail will typically be included in the leave of absence approval document), it will provide the Embassy/Consulate officers with additional proof that you are going to have extra money to cover all of the expenses during your trip to the Schengen Area.
How To Get A Schengen Visa Employee Leave Of Absence
You should make a leave of absence request at least 30 to 60 days (more is better) before your intended departure date – This is because your employer needs to have time to organise someone to cover your work during your absence, while also allowing you enough time to get your Schengen Visa.
You should carefully check the policies and the procedures of your company concerning the employees’ leave of absence (for some companies you should request your vacation leave several months in advance).
Before deciding on how many days you need off, remember that the amount of ‘paid’ vacation time you have available to use depends on the company’s policy and rules, which will be outlined in the informal agreement between you (the employee) and your employer (e.g., management).
In most cases, the amount of ‘paid’ vacation time that each employee is allowed to take depends on how long the individual has been with the business. Therefore, if you’ve been working for your company for less than one year, we do not recommend you ask for two months off – unless they will allow you to have a few weeks paid and a few weeks unpaid).
The way you can get a leave of absence from your employer depends mostly on the structure and the organisation of your company.
● If you work for a small company
If you are the employee of a small company (where the environment you work in is casual and relaxed) you can informally discuss this with your boss/manager/supervisor.
We recommend that you explain the reasons as to why you want to take a leave of absence from work and the dates you desire – this is in order to arrive at an agreement with your employer regarding the dates that you can take off without impacting their business.
Once your company gives you the permission to take a specific period off (this period can be the one you decided from the beginning for your trip or a different period, according to the needs of your company), just ask them to write a formal approval letter that you can submit at the Embassy/Consulate together with all your other documents.
● If you work for a big corporation
If you work for a big corporation, you might need to follow a formal process in order to request a leave of absence.
First of all, you must know your company’s policy concerning the employees leave of absence (most employment contracts outline that you need to formally request a leave of absence from your manager – and will outline points such as when and how often you can request it and under what circumstances it will be paid and not paid).
Do not forget that your company is not compelled to approve your leave request for tourism purposes (you must mention the reason why you ask for a leave of absence – which is to travel to the Schengen Region).
For this reason, we recommend that leading up to your European holiday, you do not avail too much of your vacation leave, otherwise, your employer might not be so flexible and could just reject your request for having too much time off.
To formally submit for a leave of absence, you should address the HR department using the request email provided below.
Even if your company places an employee’s leave of absence decision under the Human Resources (HR) department, we recommend that you discuss your travel plans with your manager first – As, you don’t want your direct supervisor to find out that you are going around them to take additional leave.
You have two options when you address the Human Resources department for your leave of absence request:
➢ Filling out a specific form
Your company may have a specific form for employees who want to request a leave of absence to fill out.
If this is the case, you can simply ask for a copy of this form from one of the HR Department representatives if the company requires the employees to fill out a form when they request a leave of absence. If so, just ask them to send you the form, fill it out carefully, and then send it back to the HR department.
➢ Sending a letter to your manager or the HR department
If you are not required to fill out a specific form when requesting a leave of absence, you can simply send an email to the HR department.
You can use the sample below as a model (use the name of the person you are addressing the letter to if you know them, and if not just start the letter with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam.”)
Leave of Absence Request Letter – Sample
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 [Name Of The Company] since [Starting Date] in the following role [The Position You Cover Within The Company].
If possible, I would like to request a vacancy leave of absence from [Start Leave Date] through [End Leave Date].
If approved, I will be travelling within the Schengen Area during this period for [Purpose Of Travel] and I would be glad to assist with any question via email or phone whenever possible.
Please let me know if I can provide further information or if you have any questions.
[Your Full Name]
Important: If your leave is approved, you can also download one of our templates and provide it to the person who approved your leave of absence, whether you work for a small company and your manager will write directly the leave approval letter or you work for a big corporation and the HR Department will do it.
For further information, please feel free to contact us.
In case the HR Department will approve your leave request by sending you an email you can also download the email and submit it together with all the rest of your Schengen Visa documents.
However, we recommend you ask the HR department to fill in a leave of absence approval template on an email or document that includes the company’s logo, address, email and phone number – Even though this is not mandatory, you will make a better impression on the Embassy/Consulate officers and increase your chances of getting a Schengen Visa.
Mistakes To Avoid When Requesting And Writing A Schengen Visa Leave Of Absence Approval Letter
There are not too many mistakes that your manager/supervisor/HR Department can make in your leave of absence approval letter as the format of this letter is an easy one, and it only contains a small set of information.
Nevertheless, make sure that your leave of absence approval letter does not contain one of the following errors:
● Leave dates on your leave of absence approval letter do not match the dates on your other documents
Make sure that the leave dates mentioned in your leave of absence approval letter match the other dates on your documents (such as the leave dates written on your No Objection Certificate).
If you have had to change your travel dates for any reason, you will need to obtain a new or amended approved leave of absence document.
● Not mentioning to your company the reason why you are requesting the leave of absence
When you request for a leave of absence, you should mention that you are planning a trip/journey to the Schengen Region.
Your employer must know exactly what you are going to do during your absence from work – This is because your company will have to mention the reason for your leave on your Certificate of Employment (COE) and No Objection (NOC) Letter.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to ask your employer for sick leave (or any other kind of leave except the vacation leave) when applying for your Schengen Visa.
You have to be completely honest regarding the reason why you need a specific period off.
● Using a template that is not applicable to your situation
Especially if you work for a big corporation, the representatives of the HR department typically deal with tens or hundreds of leave requests every month. When approving your leave, it has happened where they use templates that are not applicable to your situation (for example, a template used for employees who ask for casual leave, which is leave approved for urgent or unforeseen matters).
If you decide not to provide them with a leave of absence approval template suitable for you, make sure that the one they use is applicable to your situation.
So, to summarise, even if this letter is not the most important document in your application, you should still submit it to the Embassy/Consulate with all of the other documents in your Schengen Visa application.