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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.