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A friend of mine (Russian national) got issued a Schengen visa by Finland. In her application the purpose to visit Schengen was visiting her grandmother in Finland. She entered Schengen by train to Helsinki.

She also traveled to other Schengen countries (partially by air), and she had her final departure from Schengen from Vienna.

That departure was a few months ago. She has now been granted another Schengen visa by Finland. However, the visa came with a written note inside the passport that if it is found that Finland is not her main destination, she may be refused visas in the future. This note was not present the first time around.

She is now worried about flying within Schengen, as she wonders if the visa authorities can access her flight history and deduce/assume from it that Finland was not her main destination, even if that's not the case.

For example, if she flies to Stockholm and goes back by another means of transportation, she worries that visa authorities will simply see the flight to Stockholm and deduce that she might have spent more time there than in Finland.

Is this concern well founded? Do the people issuing her future Schengen visas have any information regarding her previous flights within Schengen? Or are the entry/exit stamps the only thing that matters?

To clarify, she does not intend to lie. However, if she flies to other countries at all, she is worried that this may give a misleading image to officials. That's all.

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    Probably relevant to include whether Finland actually IS her primary purpose. – Matthew FitzGerald-Chamberlain Dec 19 '17 at 18:12
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    I highly doubt the Embassy has access to those records. Privacy laws are much stricter in Europe than other countries. It's much more likely that they looked at the exit stamp from Vienna and wanted to alert the immigration officers on your next entry to possible visa shopping. Helsinki is very far from Vienna. How many days did you spend? – greatone Dec 19 '17 at 18:38
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    It's also possible that the note is added as a standard for all Schengen visa applications at Finnish missions in Russia. – crayarikar Dec 19 '17 at 18:43
  • @crayarikar As OP says, she did not get the note with her first visa. – Revetahw Dec 19 '17 at 19:31
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    @Revetahw: So what? She may have gotten the first visa before they started adding the note. – Henning Makholm Dec 19 '17 at 20:05
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She is now worried about flying within Schengen, as she wonders if the visa authorities can access her flight history

Intra-Schengen flights generally don't require you to enter anything except your name when booking the ticket and likewise nobody verifies/scans your passport number, date of birth and place of birth when you proceed to the gate. Therefore even if they decided to look up the history of flights within the Schengen area for some reason, things would be complicated by the fact that people of the same namesake could be flying in Europe as well.

An additional complication is that AFAIK there isn't a shared database of every passenger on every Schengen flight, so it would take a lot of effort for the consulate to try and track each and every applicant. Not to mention that you can also take a ferry or drive out of Finland, which would be practically impossible to trace.

Or are the entry/exit stamps the only thing that matters?

Practically speaking - yes, that's the only thing that they care about. Enter the Schengen through Finland a few times and you're good to go as far as they know.

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On an internal Schengen flight, your friend will not go through emigration/immigration controls. She will go through a security check, which will include a check of her identity.

So the information may end up in some official database at the airport. Nobody knows what kind of data analysis they will do with that in the future. There could be another terror attack, or the refugee numbers rise again, and the Schengen nations might decide to compare their databases more closely than they do now. Or political majorities change and this happens even without a dramatic event.

She should not lie in her visa application. If the Schengen authorities find out, they will be really unhappy.

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    If security checks include identity being checked, they at least do not do so consistenty. The last time I flew (Copenhagen to Gatwick and return earlier this month) all I showed at entry to the security check in either direction was my boarding pass. – Henning Makholm Dec 19 '17 at 20:04
  • She does not intend to lie. I've updated OP to clarify. – Revetahw Dec 19 '17 at 20:05
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    @Revetahw: So she applied with an itinerary that fully disclosed her travel plans within the Schengen area? That should eliminate all risk that following that itinerary would be considered cheating. – Henning Makholm Dec 19 '17 at 20:09
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    @HenningMakholm I don't know, but this is quite possible. Alice plans a trip of 90 days to visit her grandmother in Helsinki. She applies for a visa to do so. While in Helsinki, her grandmother suggests they fly to Stockholm for fun, and they spontaneously do so. Later, her friend has some business in Copenhagen and invites her to go shopping with her there. She and her friend then drive from Copenhagen to Stockholm, from where they take a ferry back to Helsinki. All this can occur spontaneously, deception having nothing to do with it. – Revetahw Dec 19 '17 at 20:23
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    @Revetahw, travel within Scandinavia might sound spontaneous, but Vienna is a long way off. – o.m. Dec 20 '17 at 7:01

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