Before applying for a Schengen Visa, many readers contact us asking, “Do I need to submit the original copies of the documents to the Embassy?”.
There’s a cloud of confusion around the Schengen Visa certified vs. original documents, particularly because the Embassies and Consulates do not provide any information on this matter.
If you, too, are confused about whether you need to submit your original documents when applying for a Schengen Visa, read on.
To help sort it all out, we’ll dive into the exact examples of where you should submit your original documents and where you can submit a certified copy.
Table of contents:
- Do you need to submit the original documents when applying for a Schengen Visa?
- What should you typically submit as an original document when applying for a Schengen Visa?
1. Do You Need to Submit the Original Documents When Applying for a Schengen Visa?
If you’re asking yourself whether you need to submit original copies of all of your documents to get your Schengen Visa, the short answer is no, you don’t.
We’ll get into all the details, but first, we should explain why the original copies and certified copies are so important.
When you apply for a Schengen Visa, for the Embassy officers it is extremely important to verify your identity and ensure that you are who you say you are.
There have been many situations in the past where people have applied under fraudulent names and fraudulent details.
Most of the time, this happens when people are trying to illegally escape their current country and migrate to the Schengen Area.
Therefore, Schengen Embassies and Consulates have a duty to prevent irregular migration by ensuring that each Schengen Visa applicant meets the legal requirements for getting a Visa.
This means they need to get formal documentation validated and verified in order to spot any altered or fake supporting documents.
For this reason, it is essential for them to review original documents or certified copies of your original documents – and not just ordinary copies.
We previously explained what a certified copy is and how to get one depending on your country of citizenship.
For more information, please check out our guides: Schengen Visa Certified Birth Certificate Copy and Schengen Visa Certified Passport Copy.
To put it briefly, a certified copy is a copy of an original document that is certified as a true copy by a lawyer, notary, or an authorised person.
If submitting certain original documents is not specifically required in order for your application to be processed, then you can submit certified copies of your original documents.
We do not recommend you submit ordinary copies of your documents as the Embassy officers are not able to validate them and ensure they are true copies of the original documents.
You might ask yourself, “How can I know what documents I need to submit as original documents?”.
The quick answer? It depends on your personal situation.
Let’s explore this further.
2. What Should You Typically Submit as an Original Document When Applying for a Schengen Visa?
There are many documents that need to be submitted as original documents when applying for a Schengen Visa, such as:
- Passport (even if you must submit your original passport, we strongly encourage you to also submit a certified copy of your passport that the Embassy will keep in their archives after processing your application).
You can make a copy of these documents for yourself, but all of them need to be submitted as original documents. Otherwise, your application may be rejected.
Another reason why you should submit these documents as original documents is that you get them specifically for your Visa application – This means they would become pointless after you get an answer on your application.
These documents are not something you need day-to-day.
It does not matter if you don’t have the original, but it does matter to the Embassy because they want to ensure these documents are authentic and someone has signed them with their own hand.
Now, let’s see what are some documents you might be allowed to provide the certified copies of:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
These are documents that you may need in your day-to-day life, so you are allowed to submit certified copies instead of original copies.
Important note: In some cases, Embassies will ask you to submit your original birth certificate or marriage certificate.
This mostly depends on your personal situation and the type of Visa you apply for.
For example, if you are a minor, most Embassies require you to submit your original birth certificate and a photocopy.
Or, if you apply for a Spouse Schengen Visa, most Embassies will ask you to submit your original marriage certificate and a photocopy.
Here are a few examples of Embassies that require you to submit original documents that you actually need in your day-to-day life.
No worries, though.
You will get these documents back once the Visa officers have processed your application.
- German Embassy in Kuala Lumpur – They ask you to submit your original marriage or divorce certificate (if applicable), original birth certificate (applicable to minor applicants only), and original rental agreement or proof of house ownership in Malaysia.
- Embassy of Finland in Nicosia – For minors’ applications, they require the child’s original birth certificate and official translation (if the certificate is not in Greek, English, Finnish, or Swedish).
- Consulate of Portugal in Sydney – For applicants sponsored by their spouse, they require the spouse’s original passport and original marriage certificate (that should be translated by a certified translator if it was issued outside the EU and it is not in English or Portuguese).
Conclusion: Hopefully, this post has helped answer the question around what documents you need to provide the originals vs. the certified copies.
Keep in mind that it is extremely important to get all of your copies certified so that the Embassy can validate them and verify your identity.
The Embassy officers are really caring about either getting the original documents or documents that have been certified – and not just ordinary photocopies.
Submitting ordinary photocopies of your documents increases the possibility of a refusal.
If you have any questions concerning your Schengen Visa application or need guidance on required documents, please do not hesitate to contact us or request a no-obligation, free consultation. Our team of experts would be more than glad to provide you with advice and give you the next steps you need to follow to get your Visa and travel to Europe.