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Gotta get to Amsterdam!
smaro
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I have spent the last few days researching the cheapest way to get to Amsterdam. I am in Dallas, and have considered the flexibility of finding a cheap way to the east coast to lower the overall plane ticket cost. I have to arrive in Amsterdam by 11:55pm (end of the day) on Sept 11th. I am flexible on the return date as long as it is sometime in the middle of January of next month. The best two options I found are:

1) StudentUniverse — direct round-trip flight from Dallas to Amsterdam (convenient!) @ $971.

2) Iceland Express — return trip from London to NY, only $225, NY to Dallas ~$105, RyanAir w/ busses to get between airports ~ $100 —- and this is the best bet returning, not evaluating going (which at this point costs more and the dates are difficult to find).

So it looks like I am going w/ option 1… but again, I am flexible within the constraints of the above information. Any good info? Thanks a bunch!

smaro
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ALSO, does anyone know if it is possible to apply for the Visa and receive it in the mail while I am in the other country before I reach the maximum days mark (90 days in the case of Amsterdam—I’m spending around 130 days there). I figured I could still go, and then just return early (within 90 days) if there is any issue with receiving it on time.

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Why not take the Iceland plane and spend a few days in London as well?

Don
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You are supposed to have visa in-hand (or actually, in passport) before departure. You are also supposed to have proof of onward travel within the allowed 90 tourist days. Google Schengen border. The airline is not even supposed to give you a boarding card without a visa allowing longer stay, or proof of onward travel within the allowed tourist limits.

US citizens get up to 180 days to play tourist in the UK. Proofs of lodging, sufficient funds, and insurance can be required.

Some countries allow you to apply for residence once you’re there, but you need to stick around for the decision (which will likely be no, unless you can prove you’re independently wealthy, or dependent of a citizen already there).

You need to sort out this 90 days max in Schengen before I’ll dig around on airfares for you.

smaro
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Thank you for your reply and all the information. I did more research and it turns out I do not need a visa if I am staying for only 4 months, however I do need to apply for a Temporary Residency Permit [http://dc.the-netherlands.org/Services/Consular_services/Visa/US_citizens/Traveling_to_the_Netherlands/Residence_Permit_the_Netherlands]…that of which I can apply for AFTER I arrive (within 3 days). Therefore there is no further limitations as far as getting into the country legally.

That said, I am still desperately looking for the best option in terms of getting to Amsterdam. I am meeting my friend there right before midnight of the 11th, and I need to be there some time before or close to the same time. I’m still looking around, and would greatly appreciate any help on the matter. Thanks again!

Don
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I am very familiar with the Dutch process. It is my most recent, and infuriating, visa experience yet (and Denmark and Norway weren’t no cake-walks, either).

When you click-through the IND Residence Wizard, it presents very clear conditions for an application to be received. For the “I want to come to the Netherlands” one, US passport holders can apply on basis of Holiday, for example. The next page then spells out that to stay longer than 3 months, you need a purpose other than holiday. Other choices include, for example, Exchange. Click through to discover that applies to Canadian, NZ, and Australian passport holders, and other countries conditions depending on the program—such as your program placing you with a Dutch host family, and reciprocal arrangements for Dutch students visiting the US. How about Study? Marriage? Work? On what basis do you plan to enter and stay in the Netherlands for longer than their 3 month tourist entry allows?

Smaro, I’m not trying to pee on your parade. But this could be very costly for you—financially and in other ways—if you don’t sort it out, and that’s what I’m trying to spare you.

Could you, for example, plan to be in Schengen for 90 days, and the rest of your time in non-Schengen-land, such as the UK and/or Croatia?

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Of course you could always book a very cheap one-way Ryanair flight out of Schengen for a departure within 90 days of your arrival date (depart US Sept. 10 for a Sept. 11 arrival, btw). When the airline check-in agent asks to see your return ticket, point out that you have onward travel and show your Ryanair receipt. Whether or not you use it is totally up to you, but passports are scanned at all border entry and exit these days. Consider the risks (fine, deportation, ban from re-entry, etc.). Here ya go: http://www.skyscanne…

smaro
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Thanks again for the info! I looked through this and all the options a few times, and I certainly have some decisions to make. I assume when you speak about costs you are talking about the fees involved, I checked those out, too.. and yes, they are pretty substantial. At any rate, my situation is somewhat basic.. my girlfriend (unmarried) is doing an exchange program there (from Spain), and I am staying with her in an apartment in Amsterdam until January. I am taking classes online with my US university (thus my ability to travel), but I am not taking classes there (not officially a student in Europe). I also have family in Germany, but I don’t think this will help.

I looked into the Schengen information, and I think I understand that if I arrive (and leave) to/from the UK, that I don’t really need much of anything, other than maybe showing some proof of stay in the UK… although travel across the area (including Amsterdam) is easy, even though Amsterdam’s limit is 90 days for stay (whereas UK is well beyond, as mentioned before).

I spoke with someone at the Netherlands Consulate/Embassy and was told with emphasis that I needed a TEMPORARY Residence Permit which opens up some options as far as reasons for staying. I was given another number but as of right this moment nobody is answering the phones.

Thanks for the help and any additional info!

Don
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Family in Germany might actually be helpful in this situation—if you can make a case that you will primarily be staying with them and they will support you.

Keep in mind that there is passport control between NL and UK — actually between any Schengen country and the UK — but not within Schengen. So crossing from NL to DE is like crossing from TX to OK … (well, except maybe for the drug sniffing dogs on trains at the border).

Costs? I meant the severe disappointment of being denied entry, then turned around at your own expense on a last-minute one-way flight back to the US. As well as a potential 2,000 Euro fine, ban from re-entry, the big red X on your passport that will send up flags for any subsequent border crossings you ever try on that passport, etc.

Maybe just try the Ryanair thing, and keep your nose clean. Remember you MUST have white front and red rear lights on your bike when it’s anywhere near dark in the NL. Tickets for this are 35 Euros payable in cash on the spot, and a look at your passport. (This I also know very well!).

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Such good information! Okay, so when you speak of passport control between UK and NL, is this only by air, or will this include the chunnel as well as all other ground transport? What exactly does passport control entail in this case—if I can stay in London, they may still deny me access to Amsterdam even though I will be filling out residency applications upon arrival—and even if I get denied residency, can’t I still return back to the US within 90 days?

I ask about the ground travel because I found an excellent website (I’m sure you’re aware of it) describing the ways to move from London to Amsterdam at relatively low costs (http://www.seat61.co…).

If I decide to go this route (Iceland Express from NY to London, then by rail/bus/plane from London to Amsterdam), I need to look into a cheap way to get from Dallas to NY (right now we’re right under $200…it’s amazing how much it is to travel across the US).

You’re helping so very much, thanks a million and then some!

Don
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smaro wrote:
when you speak of passport control between UK and NL, is this only by air, or will this include the chunnel as well as all other ground transport?
Yes to all of the above. Channel Tunnel, btw.

smaro wrote:
What exactly does passport control entail in this case—if I can stay in London, they may still deny me access to Amsterdam even though I will be filling out residency applications upon arrival—and even if I get denied residency, can’t I still return back to the US within 90 days?
Maybe. You are supposed to have proof of compliance with entry rules in order to even get your boarding card. Read the fine print for international flights, buses, trains — they all say that the onus of proof and sorting out your visas ahead of time is on you, and that you agree to take on all expenses related to this.

Of course you can travel within Europe — from the UK to a Schengen border country in this case. But before boarding to NL, they can ask to see your proof of onward travel within 90 days. (Show your very cheap Ryanair ticket from Eindhoven to Croatia, remember?! Wink wink nod nod).

smaro
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So the idea is that as long as I show that I will be leaving the Schengen area within 90 days, then this will be good enough to show onward travel proof (even though Croatia is still in Europe—it’s simply beyond the Schengen area). In other words, my proof of onward travel does not necessarily have to be return travel (back to from where I came originally — US), but instead it can be onward travel to somewhere new (and out of Schengen), yes?

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You got it. Now, if you show up with way too much stuff for someone planning to visit and tour around Europe — more than say, 2 big suitcases — or you have an attitude, or don’t answer questions clearly as to your purely touristic purposes for visit, then you will likely get additional questioning, and possibly be required to show proofs of insurance, clear lodging plan, means of support during your 90 days, etc. Now that you’ve got some information, what you do, of course, is completely up to you.

Be sure to check the “nifty visa checking tool” thread at top of this forum.