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25 replies
Shengen Visa question - Applying for visa to Germany
l1r
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OK, so I’ve been looking around and reading shengen visa info, and came across a few questions.
First off my trip will take place in September. I will go to Germany, France, Italy and Netherlands.
Seems that Germany wants me to pay them a visit in California embassy, France is willing to do it over the mail, but requires you to have confirmed booking of all hotels along the way, and Italy is pretty far South, so I was saving it for the end.
There is, however, Netherlands, which says to get Visa I can come to their Denver location, and only ‘important’ requirements are to have ‘Proof that you can proceed to the next country’ and ‘Proof establishing purpose of the trip’.
Do I have to book every single hostel along the way in advance??? I was hoping to have a little more freedom of choice along the way…

Another question – there is this phrase on the website: “Applications can be submitted a maximum of 3 months before the date of departure”. I was going to buy an airline ticket well ahead, but don’t want to do so before I get visa. Can they deny you visa, even though you already have tickets? Will ticket prices go up if I wait too long? Do they deny visas often?

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food
oldlady
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How long are you planning to stay? Assuming you’re a US citizen you don’t need a visa unless you’re staying more than 90 days, total, in the Schengen area.

Proof of onward travel would be something that shows you’re going to leave within the allotted time frame — a round trip plane ticket within the time frame is best. Next would be an e-receipt for a plane ticket leaving the Schengen area within the time frame.

Don
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Schengen border agreement—to which all of the countries you mentioned belong—means that once you’re in via any (legal) point of entry—airport, for example—then you have free travel within all of “Schengen-land” for the time allowed on your visa. I don’t think you have to have a visa for every country in this case. Check http://www.delta.com… for more info.

l1r
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No, I’m not a US citizen. That’s why I need a visa.
So if I have roundtrip ticket flying to Amsterdam and leaving from Rome a month or so later, that should not raise any questions, right?

Also, again, is it pretty unusual for anybody to get denied visa? I think I have everything in order, but am scared to buy plane tickets until I have visa.
How long in advance do you guys buy your plane tix?
Thanks. —— Tim

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food
oldlady
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The important thing for most countries in issuing a visa is that they want to be sure you’ll go back home and you’re not there to take advantage of their services (like health care). A job, an address that isn’t a PO box, and a roundtrip ticket will go a long way to proving that. Have you downloaded and/or read the application forms?

l1r
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OK, so I am finally getting all my stuff together for Shengen visa… I will be going to travel Italy in September, but to get visa to Italy you have to go to Italian embassy, which is nowhere near Colorado (where I live). French, however, have no problem doing visa by mail, so I guess I going to fly into France and then take train to Italy.
Now here I sit looking at requirements and all the stuff I need to send in and got a few questions. Hopefully someone who has gone through the same process can help me out here:
1. Proof of health insurance. I don’t have insurance now, is there some inexpensive option I can buy that will just give me overseas coverage and satisfy this requirement? Any directions into where to look, etc. are appreciated.
2. Emergency return, liability for an amount of 30,000 Euros. – what is this???
3. Confirmed hotel reservation of all countries you will visit. – I will be staying in hostels and have no plans or intentions of making reservations of anything more than first hostel. Will that be ok?

I swear it’s like those countries do not want you to go visit…
I guess it’s hard to blame them, trying to prevent illegal immigration and all…
Anyways, hope someone can help. I might try calling them on Monday if I don’t get response from anyone here…
Thanks.
—— Tim

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food
Don
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1. Get travel insurance that includes medical coverage (most do) that satisfies the requirement. Most will include repatriation (what #2 means) but be sure the amounts are sufficient in the policy you buy.
3. Reservations are an agreement — not necessarily a purchase — and can typically be paid on arrival. If you don’t arrive, you can usually cancel without penalty as long as you follow the hostel’s rules about cancellations (ie, 24? 48 hours advance for cancellations? no-shows pay 100%? — something like that).

If you are a student, check/see if the ISIC card includes some coverage. Also check www.insuremytrip.com

l1r
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OK,
quick update… Netherlands embassy stated on their site that I can get visa in Denver… Well, not really – I e-mailed them for appointment and they said I have to go to San Francisco. It is really annoying dealing with this visa stuff now (hard to blame them – I guess they are trying to cut down on illegal immigrants, but still annoying for tourists like me).
German embassy is willing to do it over mail. So I’m gathering all the paperwork (since I have to submit everything short of my memoirs). I’m going to be calling airlines now to see if I can get a reservation without actually purchasing tickets… It appears hostel reservations make you put 10% deposit which will not be refundable, and embassy wants me to have reservations for every single hostel along the way for my 20 day trip!
If anyone has any suggestions, I’d appreciate them Smile —— Tim

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food
luv_the_beach
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l1r, if you’re not a US national, then what’s your nationality? American citizens are not the only nationality exempt from a Schengen visa for a trip that’s less than 90 days.


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l1r
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I am citizen of Georgia and I am a green card holder in the US. I am pretty sure I do need shengen visa. —— Tim

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food
luv_the_beach
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l1r wrote:
I am citizen of Georgia and I am a green card holder in the US. I am pretty sure I do need shengen visa. —— Tim

Reason I ask, is because there’s a few developing countries (mostly located in the Americas) who actually don’t need a Schengen visa (but they might assume that they do ). So, it helps if we know where you’re coming from to give you advice.

It’s not because you don’t have a US passport, that you are required to have a Schengen visa. It’s because you’re traveling on a Georgian passport. There’s a difference.

l1r wrote:
Also, again, is it pretty unusual for anybody to get denied visa?

Well, no. If very few people from a certain country were denied visas, then they’d most likely scrap the visa requirement for nationals of that country (unless there’s political reasons). But I can’t imagine too many US Green Card holders getting denied a Schengen visa.

l1r wrote:
OK, so I am finally getting all my stuff together for Shengen visa… I will be going to travel Italy in September, but to get visa to Italy you have to go to Italian embassy, which is nowhere near Colorado (where I live).

That defeats the purpose of a consulate whose job is to deal with petty paperwork like issuing visas. The purose of an embassy is as official representation of a particular country to the host country. Many embassies have a consulate in the same building, don’t let that confuse you.

According to this Italian Foreign Ministry webpage http://www.esteri.it… there’s Italian consulates in following US cities (and they all accept visa applications):

Washington (DC), Detroit, New York, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco

Did an Italian consulate staff actually tell you that you have to go to Washington?


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l1r
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From German Embassy web site:

Quote:
Where and how to apply?

German consular services are available through its Embassy in Washington and Consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco.

Except for rare instances, you have to submit your application in person. Click below to find out where to submit your application and to learn about any specific application procedures. Due to local particularities handling and processing may vary slightly among the German missions involved.

My understanding of this paragraph is that I have to submit application in person at one of the above locations…

Main reason I am applying for visa at German consulate now is 1. they can do it by mail (I am looking for that page, but I know I read it somewhere), 2. air tickets to Germany are considerably cheaper and 3. I have a buddy there who was promising to get me an invitation, so I don’t have to deal with booking hostels for the duration of my trip to present it with my application.
Also, Netherlands representative in an e-mail conversation did tell me that I need to apply in person in LA, Chicago or San Francisco. To quote their e-mail:

Quote:
My apologies but the Denver office can no longer see appointments for visa applications. All applicants must now apply at a Consul General office. The closest locations are LA, Chicago, or San Francisco. Sorry for the inconvenience. For more information, you can visit www.ncla.org. Or, you can call 1.877.388.2443.

I e-mailed German embassy, but have not received an answer yet.

I called Delta asking about “confirmed itinerary”, they told me the only way to do it would be purchasing a cancellable ticket, which was quoted at $4000. I’ll just buy the ticket before I apply for visa and if they have nerve to deny me, I’ll just suck it up…

Thanks for your help luv_the_beach.
—— Tim

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food
luv_the_beach
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l1r wrote:
From German Embassy web site:

Quote:
Where and how to apply?

German consular services are available through its Embassy in Washington and Consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco.

Except for rare instances, you have to submit your application in person. Click below to find out where to submit your application and to learn about any specific application procedures. Due to local particularities handling and processing may vary slightly among the German missions involved.

My understanding of this paragraph is that I have to submit application in person at one of the above locations…

Yeah, that’s what it looks like. In any case, consider this a great excuse for a roadtrip to Chicago or Los Angeles (the two closest locations to Denver, both cities are about 1000 mile drive from Denver), or to Houston, the next closest (1120 miles), followed by San Francisco (1260 miles). Or fly. Also, click on that link, as it says above, “to learn about any specific application procedures”….they may need you to schedule an appointment. Click on that link and see what else it says.

l1r wrote:
Main reason I am applying for visa at German consulate now is 1. they can do it by mail (I am looking for that page, but I know I read it somewhere), 2. air tickets to Germany are considerably cheaper

Not necessarily. Rates fluctuate, so what you saw a couple months ago may be very different now. When are you hoping to take this trip?

l1r wrote:
I called Delta asking about “confirmed itinerary”, they told me the only way to do it would be purchasing a cancellable ticket, which was quoted at $4000. I’ll just buy the ticket before I apply for visa and if they have nerve to deny me, I’ll just suck it up…

Well, all tickets are cancellable, the question is, are they refundable. For refundable, obviously, you’ll pay more (but $4000 is absolutely insane). Toy around with websites like orbitz, expedia, travelocity, and see if you can find information on cancelling airline tickets that you have purchased through them, and/or how much more a refundable ticket costs; hopefully the difference isn’t too great.

I did some info-searching myself on travelocity, and found out that if you need to cancel a non-refundable ticket, you won’t get a cash or credit refund, but they will give you a “refund” in the form of credit towards future travel with the same airline, and they will deduct around $200 from that refund. So at least it won’t be a complete loss.

So try doing this research, and let’s see what you come up with.

I also took a look at the website of the French consulate of Chicago http://www.consulfra… and while they too require airline reservations (as will all Schengen countries, I think it’s safe to say), they suggest making airline reservations without paying for the airline ticket. If the visa gets denied, cancel the reservation. I’m not sure how this works…making a reservation without paying (I didn’t even think it was possible)…so you might want to look into that.


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l1r
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Found it:
http://www.germany.i…
Had to do a google search of the site before it found it Smile

On Friday I did what I was supposed to do months ago – I called the LA consulate. Spoke with a lady with ‘charming’ German accent. I mainly had questions about form of invitation, notarizing documents, etc. But then I asked about tickets:
me: Now you require airline reservation. I called airlines and they do not do the reservations, I was thinking…
her: You can do it yourself. Just go to airline site and print the page right before you have to pay for the ticket.
me: But… that would just be an itinerary
her: Yes, that’s what we need, an itinerary.

I might call once again, just to make sure, right before I mail all the stuff in. Right now I’m waiting on my friend to mail me the invitation, and at that point I should have everything I need for the application.

I’m hoping to take the trip September 8th – 30th

Yeah, I was looking at ticket prices last night, they are not nearly as cheap as they were last time I looked (about a week ago). But it doesn’t matter at this point – I’m going to visit my friend in Germany. And then going to roam Italy for most of my vacation.

Thank you! —— Tim

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food
l1r
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Hooray! I got the visa! Got my passport in the mail yesterday.
I am going to Germany and Italy from September 8 to 30th!
This is awesome. Thanks everyone for your help. —— Tim

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food
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Thanks for the update, l1r!

Your experience was a learning process for us too. Smile

Have fun!!


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l1r
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Thanks. I really hope this will help someone. If anyone has questions about any part of application process for German embassy, PM me, I’ll be happy to share all of my knowledge.
A few things:
All they really want for airline ticket is an itinerary – page right before you are asked to pay for the ticket on sites such as travelocity.
They actually do call your employer (mine is my father, they had a problem with that at first, but it all worked out – they did not ask for his tax return)
I got travel insurance from hthworldwide.com. It was about $30 for 22 days and they accepted it no problem.
I didn’t have to book hostels since I have a friend in Germany who got me the invitation. I will attempt to couchsurf part of the trip and might book a few hostels just in case.
——
Tim

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tripgermany
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I am applying for the visa at germany. I am student right now and dont have a lot of bank balance. I dont know how much they want for balance. Do have any idea about it..
I would appreciate if you have any suggestions

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do i have to go to chicago in the german consulate of can i just send documents for the visa? do you know!!

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Trip,

Just as l1r discovered above, you will need to physically visit the German consulate.

Same question I asked l1r: what country are you a citizen of? Just to make sure that you do in fact need a visa.

The German consular website (for the United States) lists the required documents that you will need to obtain a tourist visa. One of the requirements listed is “your current bank statements from the previous two months and one copy”. According to travelpuppy.com you only need to prove that you have enough money to support yourself during your stay in Germany and the Schengen zone. So, it doesn’t have to be a huge amount.

Hope this helps.

When are you planning to travel?


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l1r
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It depends where you live. I know for some midwest states (CO, NM, AZ I think) you can apply by mail. Best bet is to call them. I did and the person was super nice. They told I can apply by mail (which I did). And that was not that big of a deal – only few things need to get notarized (your filled out application, mainly).
When I applied my bank showed around $10K, so I don’t know what the lowest you can have. But I’d imagine it depends on how long you’re going for and under what conditions (living with a friend or in hotel, etc.). I would imagine 3000 would be pretty reasonable to expect.
Oh and don’t forget, if you’re saying you will be living in a hotel, you will need to have confirmed bookings of all the hotels all along the itinerary (dealbreaker for me, but I had a friend send me an invite Smile)

wow, I feel I’m actually contributing to this board now, instead of just asking tons of questions —— Tim

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food
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i am flying to germany in middle of december and i am staying with my friend for a month. i have $2000 in my account and have unused $1500 credit card. Is that enough or do i need to collect more money. please give me some advice.

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I don’t know about your credit cards… They don’t even ask for that info. All they want to see is that you have money in your bank account. If you’re staying with your friend, have him write you a letter (something in a form of “I’m so and so and I want to have my friend visit me in December. During his stay he will live with me at my appartment/house/mansion”). That will increase your chances greatly.
If you have any way of adding couple thousands to your account, that would also help you, imho.
—— Tim

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food
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Read this thread and did find it incredibly helpful. But for clarification, even though you were traveling to other countries after your arrival in Germany, they did not require proof of accommodations for any other country because you had the invite from your German friend? Would it follow that if you had a hostel reservation in Berlin, that you wouldn’t have to show reservations for every country you were visiting. Or, was the assumption that the bulk of your trip was in Germany and that’s all they cared about (since you had the invite)? Thank you in advance for your help… coming down to the wire on my trip next month and trying to get all these last details finalized.

I am leaving from Los Angeles with $5000 for 18 days
Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Zürich, Florence, Rome
I am leaving from Los Angeles with $5000 for 18 days
Copenhagen, Berlin, Prague, Zürich, Florence, Rome
Don
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@ david, it depends. Check your requirements here: http://www.delta.com… Germany is part of the Schengen Agreement Border. Once you enter the Schengen border, you then (mostly) have free travel within Schengen.

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No, they want to know where you’re staying each night of the trip. My friend wrote in the invite I will be staying with him for the entire duration of the trip, although I never stayed in his house.
Besides, if you travel to Germany for 5 days and Italy for 16 (like in my case), you will have to get visa from Italian embassy, even though your point of entry was Germany. Since they consider your main destination to be Italy, where you spend most time.
—— Tim

I am leaving from Denver, CO with $3500 for 23 days
Frankfurt, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Frankfurt
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food