A Seattle-based friend of mine (who is not a US national) wishes to apply for a Schengen visa in Vancouver. Unfortunately no consulate in Seattle is currently issuing Schengen visas so Canada is the closest place where one can get one.

Do Schengen rules allow one to apply for a visa while keeping the passport for the duration of the visa processing? Or is this something that needs to be discussed with each individual consulate?

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    Can he apply in Canada residing in US? – Neusser Feb 5 '18 at 1:16
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    @Neusser It is indeed possible, only if the diplomatic mission has been contacted in advance about special circumstances. – crayarikar Feb 5 '18 at 1:50
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    @Neusser it's generally allowed if it's closer than traveling to the official US consulate. Same thing for Canadians. – JonathanReez Feb 5 '18 at 2:21
  • Does Washington have enhanced driver's licenses available? If so, obtain one, use that to cross the border, and freely leave the passport behind for processing. Alternatively, the US does allow you to carry two US passports simultaneously (Canada does not allow the equivalent). (EDITED: person in question is not a US national, so these options won't work.) – Jim MacKenzie Feb 5 '18 at 17:55
  • @JimMacKenzie in any event, Washington does issue EDLs; the four other states that issue them are Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont. But as you note that won't help here because the visa applicant is not a US citizen. – phoog Feb 5 '18 at 19:18

According to an email from the Dutch consulate in Vancouver:

Good day,

In case you have a Green card, you can travel back to US without your passport. In case you have a visa in your passport, you can travel with your passport back to US, and mail us the passport. We won’t be able to send your application to our Regional office in Washington DC without your passport. We trust to have informed you sufficiently.

So the answer is no, it might not be possible depending on the consulate. But you should still be able to find an alternative arrangements such as mailing in the passport.

  • From what you've quoted, it is possible, it's just not fast. You set up the appointment, go meet with the consulate/embassy, then go home with your passport, and ship the passport back to the embassy. (I'm assuming that one won't get into legal trouble by having their passport with visa in another country for a few days.) – Jim MacKenzie Feb 5 '18 at 20:05
  • @JimMacKenzie you still surrender your passport so you won't be able to leave the US until the visa processing is finished. In an ideal scenario you would be given the option to come back for the visa sticker when the processing is complete. – JonathanReez Feb 5 '18 at 20:20
  • Agreed, not ideal, but in many circumstances, practical and tolerable, especially if the embassy will expedite the return of the passport. Presumably they will already have made the decision to grant the visa. – Jim MacKenzie Feb 5 '18 at 20:21

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