Guide: Pension Statements For Your Schengen Visa Application
What Is A Pension Statement For Your Schengen Visa Application?
A “Pension Statement” (or Pension Slip) contains details of the pension payment deposited in the bank account held by a pensioner.
If you are retired, submitting your pension statements to get your Visa and travel to the Schengen Region is mandatory.
However, not all pensioners hold a bank account. In some countries, they can collect their pensions from the post office or the postman can deliver them to their doorstep.
In most countries, the pension statement is made on a monthly basis, meaning that most pensioners get their pension each month (even though some pension schemes can allow you to get your pension/annuity payment quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly).
Your pension statements show proof of your monthly retirement income. According to the Visa requirements, submitting them to the Embassy/Consulate is mandatory for all pensioners. (because all Schengen Visa applicants must show proof of their financial means when travelling to a Schengen country).
The most common required documents used by Schengen Visa applicants in order to show proof of their means of subsistence are employment documents (for those who are employed and are able to cover their trip expenses themselves) and sponsorship letters (for those who have a sponsor who covers all of their expenses). But if you are retired, and you are able to fund your trip using your retirement income, you must submit your pension statements.
Most Embassies require you to submit at least 3 months of pension statements. However, we recommend that you submit your pension statements for the last 6 months (in case you receive your pension monthly – Otherwise, make sure you submit pension statements that cover the last 6 months prior to your Schengen Visa application).
Suppose you reached pension age (and get pension income) and you are still employed. In that case, we recommend you submit both your pension statements and employment documents (because the more you show proof of financial means, the more your chances of your Visa being approved increase).
As a general rule, you must submit proof of your primary income source, but you can also submit evidence of other regular income statements.
Typically, there are three types of pensions available in most countries:
- State pension – This is the pension you get from the Government of your country when you reach the legal pension age. The amount you get depends on the amount of the taxes and contribution paid for a specific number of years.
- Private (or personal) pension – The private pension refers to a plan into which you contribute from your own earnings.
- Workplace pension (or occupational pension) – In some countries, companies are required to offer their employees access to a workplace additional pension.
Each country has its own pension system and may offer several state and private retirement plans and schemes. For example, in most countries, the pension system is divided into pillars.
Some states also offer to their citizens a ‘social pension’ (corresponding to the zero or first pillar) that does not require former contributions of an individual, but citizenship or other criteria set by the Government of these countries.
However, these details are not relevant for this guide as your main purpose as a Schengen Visa applicant is to prove to the Visa officers that you have enough money to cover your expenses during your trip to the Schengen Area (e.g., medical insurance, accommodation, flight itinerary, and day-to-day expenses).
Therefore, this guide will not cover a large amount of information about the various pension types and schemes available worldwide.
As far as your application is concerned, it does not matter whether you submit your state pension statements or private pension statements.
Or, if you get more than one pension (for example, you get both a State pension and private pension) you can submit pension statements for each of them.
Your main goal as a Visa applicant is to prove that you have sufficient means of subsistence to travel to the Schengen Territory.
Important: Do not get confused between the pension statements you receive as proof of your retirement income (this guide) and the pension statements that persons who did not reach pension age receive from pension providers.
The pension statements sent to those who are saving money for their retirement refer to a summary that shows how much money or benefits they have in their pensions.
Thus, if you did not reach pension age you do not have to submit any pension slip as proof of your retirement savings as it would not bring value to your application.
Note: If you want to relocate as a retired foreign national and enjoy your golden years in an EU country, you must apply for a long stay National Visa. However, you still have to submit your pension statements as a mandatory requirement.
The Importance Of The Pension Statements For Your Schengen Visa Application
Your pension statements are important for your Schengen Visa application because they show proof of your income which is a mandatory Visa requirement.
In other words, they are relevant for your application because:
- They show you have enough money to cover your expenses during your trip to the Schengen Area (please note that if your pension is not high enough to cover all of your expenses, you must provide additional proof of income, a sponsorship letter, or an accommodation invitation letter from someone who can fund your trip partially).
- They act as evidence that you may get a specific amount of money into your account during your stay in a Schengen country because you receive your pension once a month, on a specific date.
- They show proof of your rootedness. As an applicant for a tourist Visa, your main goal is to prove your intentions to return to your country of residence and not to stay on the territory of a Member State illegally (and a person who reached pension age is more likely to have strong ties in their country of residence).
Also, if you receive a State pension it means that you’ve been a responsible citizen who paid taxes and contributions which can be interpreted as a sign of your rootedness (please note that to prove your rootedness, your marriage certificate and the birth certificate of your child – if applicable – are some of the most important documents to submit).
How To Get A Pension Statement For Your Schengen Visa Application?
Some pensioners already receive a pension slip each month.
For example, in some countries, pensioners receive their pension slips by post once a month whether they have a bank account where they receive their pensions or collect it from the post office (or another type of office/institution).
If you do not get your pension slips monthly, here is how you can get them (please note that we only provide general guidelines because each country has its own pension system and the way you can get your pension statements depends on the system in your country):
- If you get a State pension
Most of the time, pensioners who get a State pension can download their pension statements from the official website of the government agency or organisation that provides them with their pensions.
If you get a State pension and do not receive a pension slip each month, it is highly likely that you can access your personal account on the website of the organisation that provides you with your pension.
Use your credentials to access your account (or register on their website, in case you do not have an account) and download your pension statements.
Once you download them, you can print them off and submit them to the Embassy/Consulate.
- If you get a Private pension
Many banks and insurance companies are offering private pension systems and pension plans.
If you get a private pension from a bank/insurance company (or any other private pension fund) located in your country, you should be able to access your pension statements by logging in into your bank account using your credentials and downloading them.
Then, print off your pension statements and submit them to the Embassy/Consulate.
Typically, your pension statements are valid without an official stamp or signature but you can also ask a representative of the organisation/institution that provides you with your pension to sign and stamp them as proof of authenticity.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Submitting The Pension Statements For Your Schengen VisaApplication
If you fund your trip to the Schengen Area with your pension income, we recommend you avoid one of the following mistakes:
- Submitting pension statements that show your pension income is not high enough
The Embassy/Consulate officers are not actually interested in your source of income as long as you are able to cover the expenses for your trip to the Schengen Zone (of course, your money must come from a legal source, and you must be able to prove where, how, and why you get them).
Therefore, if your pension income is not high enough to cover your expenses during your stay in a Schengen country, you should submit proof of other regular income or consider getting a sponsor.
Otherwise, your Visa application may be rejected.
- Getting confused between pension and bank statements
Most pensioners have their pensions deposited in their bank accounts.
However, even though your bank statement shows the summary of all of your transactions and deposits (including your pension income) it is not enough to submit your account statements to show proof of your financial means.
Your bank statements of the last 6 months are separate documents that are mandatory for your Visa application.
Please note that every Schengen State has its own requirements concerning the minimum amount that a short stay Visa holder must have in their account.
We recommend you read ourSchengen Visa Financial Means Test and check the requirements of the European country you will be travelling to.
- Submitting a retirement plan/scheme contract instead of your pension statements
When you choose a specific retirement plan, you may sign a contract or agreement with the organisation/institution responsible for providing you with your pension income.
You can submit your pension plan contract or agreement as an additional document, but it won’t add a lot of value to your Visa application as the Embassy/Consulate officers are interested to see that you actually get a specific retirement income (and you can prove it by submitting your pension statement and not other documents related to your pension income).
- Submitting an annual pension statement that shows how much money or benefits you have in your pension
As we mentioned in the first section of this guide, in some countries, individuals who did not reach pension age receive an annual summary of the money and benefits they have in their pensions (which is also called a pension statement).
Consider the following scenario: you have been employed until June 2020 and then you retired. A few months later (for example, in November 2020) you decided to apply for your Visa. In this case, you should submit your pension statements for the last 4 months (July, August, September, and October – assuming that you receive your pension income monthly).
Potentially, you can prove to the Embassy/Consulate officers that you’ve been employed until June 2020.
However, you must not submit the pension statement that you received as an employee (showing how much money you saved for your retirement) as it does not prove that you get regular income but only the value of your pension pot and other details that are not relevant for your application.