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How Difficult/Easy is your attempt at getting a Schengen Visa?

How Difficult/Easy is your attempt at getting a Schengen Visa?

Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 10:46 AM
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tod
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How Difficult/Easy is your attempt at getting a Schengen Visa?

Still smarting from my experience at the French Consulate, I was wondering how do other folks fare in other countries when applying for a Schengen (alias French Visa)?

On Friday I joined the queue of hopefuls at the Consul. We had all made a specific appointments online costing R110-00 per person. I arrived early so got to "The window of opportunity" almost dead on time. This is where cheerful banter with your fellow travellers ends........ ........ He stared at me in disbelief! How could I not have seperated my husbands application papers from mine? How could I not have stapled my photo to the application? How could I not have a photo-copy of my airline ticket?
Stunned and embarrased I stuttered out a weak excuse about not having a stapler and pointed out that I had ever so carefully marked each sheet of paper in large blue koki-pen letters for easy reference........... "You are lucky madame that I am in a GOOD mood today, so will assist you. BUT, remember , from April we will not help you if these documents are not in the EXACT order required"!
Whew! the little twerp ( about my sons age , probably younger) carried on flinging papers to the left then to the right. Stapling the wads at great speed in an electric stapler. (wish I had one of those) not catching his fingers once.............."Come back at 12!"
I changed lanes to the next window to pay up the +-R750-00 each.

Documents required:
6 months bank statements
A letter from a bank stating my ability to withstand spending 3 weeks in France.
A letter from my place of employment stating I will find my job waiting. As the owner of the business you are required to write to yourself.........
A thirty thousand euro health Insurance policy.
Air ticket
Hotel reservations
Your passport must have at least one entirely blank page. Mine has plenty....
Two colour photos.

At 11-30am I went back. At 11.40 the 'window of opportunity' was vacant so I gingerly approached. "Not ready!"
At 11.55am - "Come!" I sprang our of my chair and gratefully accepted my passport.
But that was not all........"Be aware you will not be received if you apply so early next time!" I was 1 month away from the 3 months in advance appointments. Why didn't they turn down my appointment in the first place then?? I don't care - I got my visa!

Paris, City of Light, Love, and exquisite art and buildings......Do you love me as much as I love you?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 10:54 AM
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Not sure where you're from so you would need to get a Schengen visa for a 3 week trip to France. From the US - and I assumed most places - a 3 week tourist visit doesn't require any sort of visa.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 10:57 AM
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Mr N has to get a visa. It does involve jumping through a lot of hoops, but it's the same for everyone.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 10:58 AM
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On tod's profile, home is South Africa.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 11:03 AM
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Hi nytravler, I'm from South Africa. I thought the R sign in front of the money amount might give it away but I guess our currency is mostly referred to a ZAR.
I'm sure I read a post recently about USA citizens needing a visa for Europe?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 11:03 AM
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nytraveler - there are a priviliged few nationalities that generally can travel around most countries visa-free as tourists. Many nationalities can't. Countries also tend to 'group' together offering equal travel opportunities. Europe is pretty open to other Europeans, North Americans and Australasians. So most people in the world are quite likely to need a visa for a European country.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 11:07 AM
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"home is South Africa."

Whose citizens have to present pretty much the same documentation (and pay roughly the same) to the US embassy and UK High Commission to visit those countries as they to to a Schengen embassy.

Hopefully, we'd fire staff behaving that obnoxiously. But otherwise Tod faces the same problems all citizens of developing countries put up with to visit any rich one.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 11:16 AM
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That's the part I don't understand Flanners. We in particular have a blood-curdling rate of exchange but scrimp and save all our lives to enable us to spend those hard earned bucks in wonderful places like France. We should be treated with the utmost admiration I say! (Remembering France is not in such good shape after Mitterrand & Chirac).
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 11:22 AM
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Tod, try the German embassy next time, they're just as weird, maybe even worse. It only took you one day?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 11:38 AM
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tod - I can't believe what you went through for a 3-week stay - it's absurd! I'd find an easier country next time!

My niece had a rough time with the French consulate in NYC for an extended student visa.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 12:10 PM
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"I can't believe what you went through for a 3-week stay - it's absurd! I'd find an easier country next time!"

Obviously you have no idea about the treatment Europeans are subjected towhen they attempt to enter the US. Retina scan, finger prints (both hands), having to give an address in the States, answering silly questions, swearing they don't belong to a terrorist organization and the usual paranoia.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 12:54 PM
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I only need to give one single finger print. Not even a photo anymore. Those Americans must like me
Wish I would look more like a terrorist.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 01:03 PM
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No doubt due to your reputation on Fodor's ....... )
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 01:23 PM
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Obviously you have no idea about the treatment Europeans are subjected towhen they attempt to enter the US. Retina scan, finger prints (both hands), having to give an address in the States, answering silly questions, swearing they don't belong to a terrorist organization and the usual paranoia.

And, amazingly, all of that takes maybe 3 minutes, not counting standing in lines which are no worse than many European points of entry, particularly the UK. Hardly onerous. I know that folks want to make it seem like the end of the world, but I just don't think it is.

Now, visas, on the other hand, are a right PITA. Tod - you have my sympathies.

At the end of the day, though, countries have legitimate concerns about border security. I think we all wish these sorts of things weren't necessary, but the reality is that many of these hassles/restrictions/protocols do address very real issues.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 01:28 PM
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"I think we all wish these sorts of things weren't necessary, but the reality is that many of these hassles/restrictions/protocols do address very real issues."

The problem is they don't !
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:02 PM
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The problem is they don't !

No offense, but the arrogance of these sorts of statements is beyond stunning. It seems everyone you meet is a security/immigration expert and that they KNOW these measures don't do anything. Well, I'm willing to stand up and say:

I am an accountant. I know nothing about security, counter-terrorism, or combatting illegal immigration. While some of these measures make no sense to me, the reality is that I have ABSOLUTELY ZERO expertise in any of these areas, and any comments I make are nothing more than complete and utter speculation.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:07 PM
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and any comments I make are nothing more than complete and utter speculation.

You didn't need to point it out, it is quite obvious.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:40 PM
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You didn't need to point it out, it is quite obvious.

Ahh.. But at least I am honest. This is a far cry from most of those that complain about onerous security or immigration procedures.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 02:48 PM
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tod, I'm sorry you had such a hassle. These things are a fact of travel sadly. However if you don't have to appear in person for a visa it really is worth paying for someone else to do it for you.

Enjoy Paris.

I don't mind queues, I don't mind photos and fingerprints, I don't even mind filling in forms which want to know everything about me, but why do I have to fill in a form online before going to the US (the ESTA clearance) and then have to fill in the self same information on a green immigration card before they let me in? No one even asked about our ESTA registration.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2010, 03:42 PM
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Pvoyageuse, reminds me of the famous german saying:
"Ist der Ruf erst runiniert. lebt's sich völlig ungeniert!"
"Once the reputation is spoiled, you can live without ever being embarassed again!
Sounds good to me! Yeah, back then, they knew how to live a good life.
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