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I am a Philippine passport holder and recently applied for a Schengen visitor visa with the Swiss embassy to go on a 2-week holiday in Europe. My reason for the trip is to visit and meet my boyfriend’s (a Swiss national who now lives in Manila - we live together) family and friends and to see his hometown. We were also planning to do a short trip to a few nearby cities after Switzerland. My boyfriend’s stepfather was kind enough to write a letter of invitation for me saying they would provide accommodations for my stay in Switzerland. (I would be paying for everything else.)

Unfortunately, my visa was denied on the grounds of 1) the information I provided was unreliable, and 2) my intention to leave could not be ascertained.

Firstly I would like to say how unfair I feel about all of this is. I was very meticulous in preparing my documents and gave them more than what was asked. Needless to say I was very disheartened but feel compelled to reapply because I know my case is strong.

Here's some further info about my situation. I am a self-employed graphic designer, with one major client who I've been working with for nearly 2 years, and with whom I have a current contract that is valid up to April 2018. My business was only recently registered, about 2 months ago, therefore I wasn't able to provide an annual ITR but instead supplied monthly and quarterly tax receipts in its place. I have a DTI registration, COR with the BIR, was able to supply a certificate of freelance work with my main client saying my current status with them, and even a letter of leave stating that I will be gone for the duration of my trip but I'm expected to resume my work obligations with them afterwards.

I am not sure if my freelance status was what killed my chances, even if I was able to provide what I think was sufficient evidence that I have strong ties here. I also make good money with my main client, it's not something I can just leave. However my other hunch about why I got rejected was my sponsor - my boyfriend's stepdad. We had actually never met and he provided the invitation letter as a sign of goodwill towards my boyfriend. It might be that the embassy deemed our relationship as too distant given that we have no direct relationship. Right now it is only this reason and my freelance status that I think could be the culprits for my visa refusal.

I am planning to reapply now with the French embassy given that France is my point of entry and I’ll be revising my itinerary so that I spend a longer time there. This time though I’ll just apply for a tourist visa (not a visitor visa). Do you think my chances would be better? Do you think it is also necessary to mention that I will be traveling with my boyfriend (he will be flying to Europe a month before me to spend time with his family, and we will just meet there), as I've read in other forums that mentioning a boyfriend or fiance is a red flag for some embassies? Would you also have any other advice for me on how I can strengthen my case given my self employed status? I honestly think my personal situation makes for a strong enough case, I just need to be able to convey it better.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

  • How long have you and your boyfriend been living together? – phoog Nov 24 '17 at 18:30
  • About 6 months, together for a year. I actually never gave them any info about our relationship. Maybe i should have given supporting documents like photos etc? – Ivyp Nov 24 '17 at 18:43
  • I was asking because if your relationship qualifies as a "durable" relationship then you can apply to visit France under freedom of movement rules. I suspect however that your relationship might not qualify. (Also, there's no distinction between visitor visas and tourist visas.) – phoog Nov 24 '17 at 19:27
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"""...as I've read in other forums that mentioning a boyfriend or fiance is a red flag for some embassies."""

That was my first thought after reading the first few lines of your post. Unfortunately, Schengen/EU embassies approach your application from the assumption that visitors from Asian countries would not return once they land in the Schengen area, and you have to convince them otherwise. Even if an applicant tells them the whole truth (as you did) and have no intention of breaking their visa conditions, the chances are they will be refused visa if they declare the existence of an EU boyfriend or girlfriend. Had you applied for a C visa with a regular invitation letter from a "friend" your age, you'd have better chances of a successful outcome.

IMO, applying to the French embassy soon after the rejection from the Swiss one would not make things any better, especially if you also change the purpose of your visit (from visiting boyfriend's family to leisure & sightseeing). I'm not sure if re-applying to the Swiss embassy with a solid visa request letter explaining your circumstances would help but obtaining a C visa from France right after you were rejected from the Swiss doesn't have bright prospects.

You also said you provided more documents than they asked for. Some embassies do not like this. Follow the checklist closely and ONLY attach the documents that are directly relevant. If you add too many papers that are not really needed, it may be seen as an attempt to impress the visa officer with everything you could gather about your assets/work/business/profession. This is just anecdotal so don't take my word for it, but in my experience and that of my friends, reams of papers with many stamps and attestations often go to waste if basic documents (e.g. 6-month bank statement etc) mentioned in the checklist do not satisfy the visa officer.

Good luck and best wishes.

  • Would the French embassy have a record of my rejected application via the Swiss embassy? – Ivyp Nov 25 '17 at 0:59
  • Yes, definitely. All Schengen visa countries have access to a common database which records all applications. French visa officer will see that you recently applied for a visa at the Swiss embassy. – Marbles Nov 25 '17 at 6:08
  • I see. But would they know the details of my application? I.e. if i changed my purpose of travel in my second application to purely just tourism so that i don’t mention my boyfriend? – Ivyp Nov 25 '17 at 11:18
  • Thanks so much for all the advice btw, it’s been very helpful. – Ivyp Nov 25 '17 at 11:19
  • I am not sure if the purpose of visit of refused visa would be recorded in the database, but the visa officer would want to know why you were refused. Are Philippine citizens required to attend an interview at the embassy? If I may speak of America and Britain, their visa officers record the questions and answers during the short interview, which is then appended to the eventual decision. So what you say to the visa officer is very important as you might be asked the same at the port of entry. I am not sure if that applies to Schengen embassies. – Marbles Nov 25 '17 at 14:30

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