Guide: Employment Contract For The Schengen Visa Application
What Is An Employment Contract For The Schengen Visa Application?
An employment contract is a signed agreement between two parties (an individual employee and an employer or future employer) that establishes the rights and the responsibilities of the employee and the employer as well as the employment conditions.
In other words, an employment contract is an official labour union that sets out the specific “terms” for an individual’s work with a business (the work conditions, duties of the employee, and the rights and responsibilities of both parties are called the “terms” of the contract).
The contract has the purpose to clearly indicate to both parties their responsibilities and rights.
For example, it can help an employee understand the role they have within the company as well as the compensation, bonuses, or expense accounts the company must pay at a specific time interval. It can also permit a company to protect critical trade secrets (usually, the contract prohibits employees from revealing the company’s trade secrets).
Submitting the contract is a mandatory Schengen Visa requirement for every applicant who is employed in their country of residence and wants to travel to the Schengen Area.
Not submitting a labour agreement or failing to prove that you have one with an employer in your home country can lead to the rejection of your Schengen Visa. This is because work commitment is the number one reason travellers return to their countries of origin after travelling to the Schengen Area.
Important: In some non-Schengen countries, both written and verbal employment contracts are legal and valid. However, it can be very difficult to prove the terms, or even the existence, of an oral contract. This is the main reason why you must submit a written labour contract for your Schengen Visa.
There are many types of employment contracts that can vary by individual state laws. In most states, they are divided into three types:
- Permanent contracts (they can be for full or part-time work and are valid until terminated by either the employer or employee).
- Fixed-term contracts (they give a set end date, for example, 6 months, one year, or any other specific period).
- Casual contracts (they are signed when the employer cannot guarantee a regular working pattern, for example, a fixed number of working hours per day).
Please note that not all the terms of employment are always written down in a formal document. Some contracts can mention only a part of the work conditions while other details can be based on an oral agreement between the parties. In an ideal scenario, you should submit a contract that shows all the details of your work conditions.
However, if some details are not clearly outlined or missing within your labour agreement (for example, details concerning your paid time off) you should not be worried. The Schengen Visa officers are trained to spot irregularities and to identify authentic documents – not to be experts in the clauses of a contract. This means that a legal employment agreement, even if it does not indicate all your work conditions, will help them anyway process your Schengen Visa.
In an ideal scenario, you should submit a permanent labour contract, as it provides stronger evidence of your intentions to return from the Schengen Area to your home country where you have a stable workplace.
However, submitting a fixed-term contract, a casual contract, or any other type of contract according to the laws of your country doesn’t mean that your Schengen Visa will necessarily be rejected.
Note: In case you are asking yourself “What documents are required if I am self-employed?”, you should know that you are required to submit the following documents: a copy of your business license, your business income statements, Company Income Tax Return, and business bank statement of the last 6 months (outside of your Personal Income Tax Return and current bank statement of the last 6 months).
Why Is The Employment Contract One Of The Most Important Schengen Visa Requirements?
- The labour contract has been listed as mandatory for all the Schengen Country Embassies, meaning that you do not get the choice and must submit it together with other mandatory Schengen Visa requirements (e.g., valid passport, fully completed Visa application form, flight reservation, etc.).
Of course, the contract is mandatory only for those applicants who are employed, meaning that even if you are currently unemployed you can still apply for the Schengen Visa – the only difference is that you will have to submit specific documents depending on your situation (e.g., a sponsorship letter).
- It provides strong proof of your employment status. For the Schengen Visa officers, it is highly important to know that you have contractual obligations in order to ensure you will return to your home country and will not stay in the Schengen Zone illegally.
Do not forget that most Schengen Visa applications are rejected because the applicants do not provide enough proof of their intentions to return from the Schengen Territory.
- It is treated as another piece of validation that you are who you say you are.
For example, in case of identity theft it is more difficult to provide a labour contract containing information that matches the one on the other documents, such as the full name and the address.
- It provides proof that you are an honest person who has a clean criminal record because a respectable company signed a labour agreement with you.
For example, if you have a criminal background or give the Employer any reason to believe you are not trustworthy it is more likely that a company will refuse to sign a labour agreement with you.
As a result, it provides additional evidence of your purpose of entry in a Schengen country (e.g., if you will be travelling for tourism the Visa officers have more reasons to believe that your travel purpose is genuine).
- The contract is the strongest proof you can bring that you can personally cover all of your expenses during your visit to the Schengen Zone, as it can show all the information concerning your financial means (e.g., wage, bonuses, commissions, insurance, expense accounts, and more).
- The other employment documents required by the Schengen Visa officers, such as the Certificate of Employment (COE) or the No Objection Certificate (NOC) Letter from Employer can indicate your monthly or annual salary as well, but these documents do not always provide an overall summary of the total compensation you receive from the company you work for.
How To Get An Employment Contract For Your Schengen Visa Application?
Employers are legally required to provide employees with a written statement of the labour agreement (the contract). If you didn’t receive a copy of your written contract from your employer, it is your right to ask for a written contract to be given to you before applying for your Schengen Visa.
In most states, the law requires that all employers provide written details of the main terms of employment to employees within a few weeks or months of them taking up their position.
Therefore, you can get your contract by simply asking your employer to give it to you (in the exceptional case that you didn’t receive one already or misplaced your original one).
The Schengen Visa officers are not actually interested to know if your labour agreement contains specific terms (for example, they are not interested if you receive bonuses from your employer annually or quarterly). They only want to view it to ensure that you are employed and you receive enough money to cover your expenses during your stay within the Schengen Area.
In a few words, they want to ensure that you live a stable life in your home country before issuing a valid Visa for you.
Mistakes To Avoid When Submitting An Employment Contract For Your Schengen Visa Application
● Declaring to the Schengen Visa officers that you have a verbal work agreement
A verbal or oral contract is very difficult to prove, and the Schengen Visa officers need to see exactly the details of your employment.
In some countries, verbal contracts are legal while in others they are illegal. Even if verbal contracts are legal in the non-Schengen country where the contract is effective, you must provide the Visa officers with a written contract.
● Not submitting all the additional documents concerning your employment conditions
In some companies, not all the expressed terms agreed between an employer and an employee are mentioned in the labour agreement. Some of them can be written down in a subsidiary document or another written statement.
If you signed a subsidiary document together with your labour contract, you must submit it as well. All of them are required documents that the Schengen Visa officers must carefully check.
● Details on your contract do not match the details on your other documents
All the documents you provide to the Embassy/Consulate for your Schengen Visa application must show consistency. This is the main reason why you must double-check in order to ensure all the details on your documents match.
For example, your salary, the date you started work, and your role within the company mentioned on your contract must match the information on your other documents, such as the Certificate of Employment (COE), No Objection Certificate (NOC) letter, bank statements, or your payslips for the last three months or more.
● The contract shows you do not get statutory rights
The statutory rights are the rights given by the law of the state in which the contract is effective (for example, being paid at least the National Minimum Wage).
Any rights you have under your labour contract are in addition to your statutory rights. A contract that shows you do not get statutory rights can be illegal and you should not submit it.
The Schengen Visa officers may believe that you do not have a stable employer in your country since you do not get the statutory rights that all the employees are entitled to.
Therefore, they may think you have fewer reasons to come back to your home country after travelling to the Schengen Area.
● Your contract was not updated
If for any reason the expressed terms of the agreement you have with your employer have changed, your contract must be reviewed and last updated before applying for your Schengen Visa.
Also, employment law can change as well. You must submit to the Embassy/Consulate a labour agreement that reflects the current law in the country where the contract is effective (and not a law that is not applicable anymore) as well as a contract that is still in effect (for example, it is not expired).
● Your contract was not signed by both parties
Sometimes, employees receive two printed copies of their employment contracts: one copy that they must sign and give it back to the employer and one copy that they must keep.
Some employees sign the employer’s copy of the contract and forget to sign their own copy of the contract.
If this is your situation, make sure you sign your copy before submitting it to the Embassy/Consulate (also, make sure no mistake has occurred and your employer signed the contract as well).
● Your contract does not include the mandatory details required by the law of the country where the contract is effective
In most cases, the country where a labour agreement is effective is the country of residence of the employee.
There is only one exception to the rule – when you work for a foreign employer and the contract reflects the law of the country of your employer (which is not your country of residence).
For example, you are an Indian (living in India or any other country), you work remotely for an American company and your labour agreement follows the American law.
If according to the law of the country where the contract is effective (whether it is your country of residence or not) some details must be included in the contract, such as the nature of the employment, the place of work, or any other detail, make sure your contract includes these details. This will bring additional proof to the Schengen Visa officers that you have a legal agreement that respects the law of a specific country.
● Submitting a contract that shows you do not get enough money
According to the Schengen Visa requirements, your labour contract must prove that your salary is high enough to allow you to cover the expenses for your trip to Europe (e.g., hotel reservations, travel medical insurance, flight itinerary, day-to-day expenses, etc.).