Travel

Schengen: Tips to get approved for any visa application.

What do I use as guarantee of return?

What I see most people do is enrolling in a school or another education. I am quite sure the embassies are noticing this too. While an appointment, enrollment or a contract with an employer may help you, there are also other ways of having a guarantee of return.

Co-Founder ‘Junaliex’ of this blog, never traveled in her life before, or never used her passport to leave The Philippines. When she applied for a private invitation visa to visit me in Belgium, we told the embassy we wanted to check if we can live together for 63 days to see if we are compatible. Because, one can’t simply do this on two week vacations every 3-4 months. I’ve been there and done that. And it did not work out. Also, I pointed out travel tickets are expensive, and so are paid vacation days only available in limited quantities to those that are employed. I wrote on my invitation letter and cover letter that we are aware of the consequences of overstay and that it may ruin any chance of entering another country in the future. And guess what? They went for it.

Now, I am not saying you should use the exact same argument we used, be original, look at your situation what applies. Now, this may not work for every destination country. Some countries may want actual proof. But I’ve heard of people getting denied, even though they owned property and had a daughter still in their home country. But it’s not too far-fetched to think that The Philippines for example is a very family oriented country. So most likely, the daughter would be taken care of by the family that is living in the applicant’s house.

Rule of the thumb again, see what applies to your situation, provide as much proof as possible.

Where do I get a Schengen Health Insurance?

Your visa application may or will require you to pay for travel health insurance to cover a minimum of 30000 EUR. If your visa application is denied, the providers usually give a refund. Some also offer to adjust the policy afterwards based on the period you’re visiting, and not the entire visa duration. So you can get a partial refund.

What do I need for my visa?

  • Call: You need to call the embassy of the destination country in the country you are a resident. They will be able to provide you the information you need.
  • Search online: Most of the time, all the information should be available on the internet.
  • Forums: Asking in online forums or communities can also help you get the information you need. However, sometimes people are wrong, and cases can differ from person to person depending on their situation. And you may get the wrong advice.
  • Immigration Lawyer: You could get an immigration lawyer to get everything done for you. However, this is not recommended as it’s very expensive. However, since they make a living out of it, they are less likely to make a mistake. Also, if you can’t take any time off, this might be the way to go.

What if I don’t meet the minimum income requirements?

If you don’t meet the minimum income requirements for signing an affidavit of support, you might still be able to work a way around it. There are two approaches to this that work.

First of all, you have to prove that you have had stable income. For this, supply income statements, pay slips, bank statements, tax returns, or whatever applies.

Secondly, you may also be able to show how much money is coming in compared to how much money is going out. You will have to reinforce this by bank statements. We can always help you optimize your budget. Start by cutting regular outgoing expenses, for things you know you have to buy or pay for every month.

What if I don’t have a bank account?

How do you plan on travelling abroad? Exchanging cash is very expensive, and they may take 10-15% in fees from you. You will need a bank account. Apply for one, and deposit some money on it. Regardless of the age of the bank account they should accept this if it’s not a critical component. For example, if someone else has provided an affidavit of support for you.

Note: Before you leave, make sure your bank account is unlocked for international use. Otherwise you will be in for a hell of a surprise.

Can I lie on my visa application or during the interview?

Sure you can, but there is a great chance they will catch you in the act. It’s highly recommended you do not lie about a single thing, even not about simple things, such as the dates you met. And when either you or your partner drop the ball, your visa will be denied.

Can I apply for tourist visa to start working earlier as au pair or while waiting for work visa?

I’ve seen this question arise in a forum. And I was surprised so many people said yes. But imagine how the immigration services will react that you’ve entered their country with a tourist visa, and suddenly apply for a au pair or work visa? This will rise some questions. Because they will go from the assumption that you’ve been working without a work permit.

So don’t lie and apply for the visa you need!

In Schengen, do I apply for a tourist or private invitation visa to visit my partner?

It may actually be easier to use a private invitation visa, as you may have to show hotel bookings and a trip itinerary for a tourist visa. It’s way easier for your partner to show a proof of lodging and showing proof of income.

Visa denied, appeal or apply again?

It depends on the country. Most of the time it’s faster to apply again.

Do note that some countries like the U.S. sometimes ask if you were ever denied for a visa. If your appeal was approved, you can simply say no here. But then again, you may want to say as you were in fact denied. If you can show that your appeal was eventually approved, they will most likely be less suspicious of you lying if there are any records of past denials in other countries whatsoever.

What can you do to convince immigration officer of your relationship?

  • Open a joint bank account. Opening a joint bank account is tricky. The easiest way is to just contact banks in either of your countries. Some banks will say no, others will take the time to help you out. But before you start this, make sure you are both ready and you know the complications if it does not work out. In our experience, it helped us because I finally could stop moving money around, and she just took what she needed to handle the paperwork. But like I mentioned, a lot of trust and knowledge is needed. Because there are disadvantages to this. Specially, when both parties have different backgrounds.
  • Pictures with family and friends: This is obviously the number one way.

How much details do I put in my cover letter, invitation letter or evidence?

Make sure you are concise with what you enter. Don’t write long pieces of text, because they may not bother to read it. If you do write long paragraphs, highlight important words or sentences.

Timelines will work too, make sure to back it up with evidence as much as possible. For example pictures side by side on the timeline.

What to bring to the airport after my visa is approved?

  • Passport
  • Bank card, make sure it’s unlocked for international use.
  • Cash? Not really necessary, just withdraw at an ATM in the destination country. Whatever you do, don’t exchange money in the airport. Also check out TransferWise to save on fees abroad.
  • Proof of where you will stay, invitation letter (if any), affidavit of support (if any): Sometimes they can ask for this before you board the plane or they ask for it in the destination country.

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