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I'm an Indian national and have been to the Schengen area many times before. However, For the sake of information I would like to know how the process occurs once the visa application has been submitted to the consulate / embassy.

  1. Do they call and check with the hotel ?
  2. The embassy asks for the complete travel itinerary with booking confirmations. Do they use the booking code to check the airline website if the booking actually exists ?
  3. Generally Is there a single person who looks at a visa application ? or does their visa approval process involve going through multiple people always ?
  4. How much time do they spend per application on an average ?
  5. Do they do a credit check with credit check agencies (like CIBIL, experian) to see the individual's liability and credit score ?
  6. What other backend processes are involved in the life cycle of a visa application ?
  7. What is the qualification of a person who reviews a visa application ? Bank statements and income tax returns are also submitted by me - so are they qualified enough to understand balance sheets, capital accounts summary etc. ? Or is there a process where an application is run through a financial eligibility check (with an accountant maybe ?)
  8. Do they go through past schengen itineraries to check for overstays (by comparing with stamps in passport) or they have this information already calculated by entry / exit scans ?

I understand the above steps can differ based on individual applications and additional checks can take place however, I would like to know if any of these steps are a part of the basic process itself (undertaken for every visa application) and more if any.

closed as too broad by Gayot Fow, Ali Awan, Some wandering yeti, Mark Mayo Aug 26 '17 at 12:32

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Which is why I mentioned that I have been to the schengen area multiple times. I have strong documents with financials and ties to my home country. This is not to elude scrutiny or anxiety. Just to know how deep the screening process is and what are the cogwheels involved in the process. I'm just a person who likes to know how things work :) – Yash Desai Aug 26 '17 at 10:20
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    No, because that is not the career path I want to take. I have a well established business from which I do not want to divert. The whole point of asking this question is for information. If you feel that sharing the information asked in the question might cause more damage than good, then just say so (that you feel someone might use this information to circumvent the system). – Yash Desai Aug 26 '17 at 10:32
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This is not just one question but a series of questions. I will attempt to answer the questions.

Do they call and check with the hotel ?

Based on empirical evidence from around the Web, they DO call and check. https://www.quora.com/Do-Schengen-visa-authorities-cross-check-the-hotel-bookings-confirmation-submitted-for-visa-applications

The embassy asks for the complete travel itinerary with booking confirmations. Do they use the booking code to check the airline website if the booking actually exists ?

My travel agent advised me that for Schengen visas, the booking should remain valid at least until a visa has been issued.

Based on a Twitter conversation with an Italian Consul-General, everybody knows that hotel and airline bookings are regularly changed after a visa has been obtained. Any change in the rules would require the approval of 26 countries. Any attempt to change this ridiculous and pointless rule would have to pass through several bureaucracies.

Generally Is there a single person who looks at a visa application ? or does their visa approval process involve going through multiple people always ?

During my last application, I apparently had missing documents. The interviewing officer told me that all supporting documents are uploaded to a system and my application would not be processed until that missing bit was submitted. Who looks at the documents after submission is difficult to pinpoint and probably defers for each consulate but it's highly likely that more than one person is involved. Unlike the UK and USA, the final authority to issue visas is with the Consul General.

How much time do they spend per application on an average ?

This obviously differs for each consulate. For example, in the UK in 2009, it took 11 minutes for the final decision-maker to judge applications from Pakistan. The total involvement time if you include background checks made by other staff is much more.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/5734001/British-immigration-officials-in-Pakistan-have-11-minutes-per-visa.html

Do they do a credit check with credit check agencies (like CIBIL, experian) to see the individual's liability and credit score ?

That probably depends on local privacy laws. It is highly unlikely that a German consulate would run a USA credit check for an applicant applying from India. I am not aware of the privacy laws in India.

What other backend processes are involved in the life cycle of a visa application ?

This is an open question. Among other things, they may call your bank, employer, run your name through Interpol, and the SIS and VIS systems. These checks are made to verify the authenticity of the documents submitted and statements made. However, the Schengen visa process does not make as many background checks as the British and Americans.

What is the qualification of a person who reviews a visa application ? Bank statements and income tax returns are also submitted by me - so are they qualified enough to understand balance sheets, capital accounts summary etc. ? Or is there a process where an application is run through a financial eligibility check (with an accountant maybe ?)

It's within their job description to evaluate bank statements and income tax returns. Don't underestimate them. They are smarter than we think.

Do they go through past schengen itineraries to check for overstays (by comparing with stamps in passport) or they have this information already calculated by entry / exit scans ?

This is an interesting question. According to Wikipedia (it cites four sources): SIS does not record travellers' entries and exits from the Schengen Area. This means that they would have to rely on manual stamps to figure out an overstay. The Schengen countries have physical exit immigration controls and you are more likely to have trouble trying to exit than trying to apply for another visa. If the consulate has doubts about your intentions, they may have asked you to appear before them AFTER you have returned to your country to confirm that you conformed with the visa.

Schengen countries are very concerned with privacy. Unlike the UK and USA, the VIS only retains information--including biometrics--for a maximum of five years. I am not sure if the VIS includes your submitted itinerary, but I think it is unlikely.

https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/visa-information-system_en

The following document provides a general guideline for how the data collected during the application process is stored and used.

https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/eeas/files/changes-in-schengen-visa-application-process-india_en.pdf

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    I'm not the down voter, you provide a good sketch, but you have excluded fraud and forgery detection, biometrics matching, interpol reds, suitability analysis, and risk analysis etc etc. See chat for an image re Schengen removals. – Gayot Fow Aug 26 '17 at 12:57
  • @Gayot Fow Thanks, I have edited the answer to clarify. However, I'm not aware of any risk analysis conducted on individual applicants by Schengen visa authorities. The system is decentralized when compared to the computerized British and American systems. The data on SIS and VIS is limited. Individual consulates are given wide discretionary powers and unlike the strict rules followed by the UK, your personal contacts within the consulate help. Unless an applicant is wanted by Interpol or there is a negative entry in the SIS, adverse incidents won't affect the application. – greatone Aug 26 '17 at 13:20
  • that's fine, I will up vote to balance off the down vote – Gayot Fow Aug 26 '17 at 13:29
  • Thanks. This is exactly what I was looking for @greatone. However based on the processes involved that you said, I would guess average time taken to be somewhere around 2-3 hours per applicant than in minutes. – Yash Desai Aug 27 '17 at 12:32

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