SCHENGEN VISA APPLICATION

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I recently applied for a Schengen Visa, to travel in France, Italy, and Spain. The original plan is to stay longer in Italy, but it has changed because I have misunderstood the “point of entry and main destination” policy written on the Embassy’s website.

The original’s plan point of entry is France, so I thought I would apply for a French visa. But when I arrived for my interview, it turned out that I need to apply for an Italian visa. Because we will be staying longer in Italy than France and Spain, Italy became our main destination.

I would have applied for an Italian visa but the Italian Embassy is in Miami, Florida, and they don’t have an office in Atlanta, Georgia. I was feeling a little stressed because I don’t really know what to do. Thankfully, the consul who interviewed me was really nice and offered a solution. He asked me to revised our trip plans, and stay an equal amount of time between France, Italy and Spain. He even said I could call my husband or my trip sponsor and explained the situation, and if they agreed on revising the plan, I can come back the same day and we will work on my application.

So I talked to Lolo about the situation, and we agreed to revised the plan. We went back in, and the consul gave me instructions on what I need to do next. He gave me an email address where I could send him the revised itinerary and additional required documents.

Ten days after my visa interview, I got my passport back with an approved short stay French visa.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT SCHENGEN VISA

WHAT IS SCHENGEN VISA?

A Schengen visa is a short stay visa that is valid within the Schengen Area. This visa allows you to visit 26 European countries. It is also valid for a maximum of 90 days per semester.

WHERE TO APPLY FOR YOUR SCHENGEN VISA?

You have to apply with a French Consulate if:

  • You wish to go only to France;
  • You wish to travel to the several Schengen States, but France is the country where you are going to spend most of the time of your trip;
  • You wish to travel to the several Schengen States, with no main destination ( the duration of stay is strictly equal in each country), but France is your first point of entry.

NOTE: If you do not need a visa for the Schengen country of your main destination or first point of entry, please note that you may require a visa for other Schengen countries you wish to visit. You should then apply with the Embassy or Consulate of the country which does require a visa.

The visa is issued only by a Consulate of France if Monaco is the main destination.

STEPS I TOOK TO APPLY FOR A FRENCH VISA

NOTE:  I was applying from the US as a green card holder.

  1. MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

I made a visa appointment online as early as possible. Since we are planning on leaving in May, I made an appointment for March 20th.

  1. FILL OUT THE APPLICATION FORM AND GATHER ALL THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

While waiting for my appointment date, I downloaded the application form from the Embassy’s website. Since it’s a PDF file, I filled it out on my computer before printing it. I also gathered all the additional documents I needed which include:

  • Original passport or travel document + copy of all relevant pages of my passport. Because I have a new passport now using my husband’s last name, I only photocopy the page with my information on it. I also photocopy my old passport (expired), including my old French visa (Yes, I have been to France before).
  • 2 recent identical passport size photographs (1.4″ x 1.7″). My husband took my picture, and I just use a template online to get the right measurement. I printed my pictures using my Canon Selphy printer and cut with a paper cutter.
  • Original + copy of proof of residency. My green card and state ID served as my proof of residency.
  • A copy of our travel itinerary. In Microsoft Word, I created a table listing down specific places we are going to be on specific dates.
  • I made all the flights, trains and hotels reservations and printed the confirmation to support my written itinerary.
  • I also printed me and my husband’s bank statements as a proof that we have enough money to cover the expenses during our trip. In addition, since Lolo will be paying for the trip, I had him wrote a letter pledging that he will be responsible for all the expenses during the said trip.
  • Additionally, I printed our health insurance policy coverage as it is required by the consulate. I also bought a travel insurance from TravelSafe.
  • I also bought a pre-paid self-stamped overnight FedEx envelope with a tracking number, since they will need to mail my passport back to me.
  • I also asked my husband for  $64 for the processing fee
  1. DRESS-UP FOR YOUR INTERVIEW

I usually dress-up in business attire for my visa interview whether the Embassy requires it or not. Dressing up makes me feel more confident during those times.

  1. DOUBLE CHECK ALL YOUR DOCUMENTS, APPLICATION FORMS AND DON’T BE LATE FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT.

Even though I have already checked my stuff many times, I still check it the night before my interview. It doesn’t hurt to check it over and over again, just in case you missed anything.

Those are the steps I took to apply for my visa. Despite all of my over-preparedness, I still ran into little problems. Fortunately, I was lucky enough that the consul who interviewed me is nice and have given me another chance that day.

Now, that I got my passport back with an approved visa, all I need to do is book all the tours we want to do.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any other tips regarding applying for a Schengen visa please leave it in the comments below.

All for now.

-LOVE, ROSEMARIE-


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