This must be one of the pickiest visa to get yet. When I acquired a Canadian and American visas, they always allow you to stay longer than stated in your travel itineraries. The advantage is that you can enter the whole of Europe with this visa, as long as the expiry dates let you.
It can be really complicated and sometimes it requires a little too much money! But have you heard of privileges based on residency? Well it exists for this one until Brexit hits then that might change. Here’s my opinion about it:
So I’ll be telling you how to apply and things to know about this Schengen visa!
1. Requires finger scan for each country
Even though the EU is one union (probably the only union) where citizens of theirs can travel, reside and work freely without the boundaries set when having to apply for a visa. Literally the benefit other nations would envy of because unlike the rest of the world like Asia where you always need to apply for a visa to reside and work in another country. The only time you don’t need it is when you go traveling.
However this is an exception, which is understandable and not at the same time. Just disregard the fact that the EU is one because it doesn’t matter if your finger scan lasts for two years for each country you’re applying, you still have to go get them scanned again if you’re applying for let’s say Italy instead of France like last time.
To me I don’t completely understand why because their citizens can just use an ID or a driving license (except for UK citizens) to travel freely and work or study. This I find extremely unfair since an applicant pays so much to get this visa done and yet they have to go through an inconvenience of scanning their fingers for each and every country in the Schengen area. This should be improved or at least be transferable to accommodate the high fee.
2. VFS centers
This might be the case now for every single country since the VFS centers are taking over the world. But one very frustrating about applying for this visa is that you have to hand in all the documents at the VFS centers even though you already have your fingers scanned. Which I think is so inconvenient and expensive at least for people who live more than 3 hours away from the closest center.
I applied for a Canadian tourist visa in 2016 and I did it online without having to travel all the way to London. I filled out all forms and paid for the fee online, then sent my passport with other documents required by post. This was super easy and very convenient for when I lived about 7 hours train ride away from the Embassy.
I again don’t get why they don’t do it this way for people who don’t need to scan their fingers for another 2 years! I’m saying this because the application is filled online and the fee is also paid online, so the only they need now is a post service!
3. Visa duration & Money requirement
It is understandable to ask for quite a bit of money from applicants because Europe is not a cheap place. However there is one thing I didn’t get to experience (due to UK residency) but my mom as a Thai resident & citizen did. When we both applied for the Schengen tourist visa to visit France, it stated in the documents that she was funding my part of travel as well as hers. The result was quite different as my visa allowed me to stay there for a month while my mom’s allowed her to stay in France or Schengen areas for 7 days (which we specified in the itinerary). They let someone who relied on someone else’s fund to stay for a whole month because of the UK residency. Meanwhile the one who held all the money only received a visa for however long she stated she would.
I literally could just cancel my return flight and hop around to a nearby country and it would be allowed! You can see where it can get frustrating for other people.
Usually with other countries, the more money you have the longer they let you stay… but this one isn’t the case unless that’s how long you’ve planned your trip to be.