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I am an Indian citizen based in the UK. I intend to make a series of trips to France in the next few months, but firstly, I intend to visit the Netherlands in April. In keeping with the rules in the Schengen handbook, I had applied for a multiple entry visa at the French consulate through TLS. I attached flight and hotel bookings in both France and the Netherlands, but the Netherlands ones were paid, but the French were not.

However my visa was refused, with the reason that my main destination was the Netherlands. This goes against the rule in the Schengen handbook, and the TLS authorities were also saying stuff that went against the guidelines in the handbook.

The exact example relevant to my case in the visa handbook:

Example: A Senegalese national regularly visits her family in France but also travels to other Member States for business purposes once or twice per year. The destination of her first journey is Switzerland.

In this case the French consulate should deal with the application because it will be the most frequent destination.

Due to this unfair refusal, I am losing out on a lot of money - the travel costs to the Netherlands, the trips to London for the visa process, and the accommodation charges. We are depressed that in spite of following the Schengen rulebook to the letter and spirit, due to the ignorance of the consulate officials, we have had to lose out on so much money.

We have an appeal process, but is it possible for us to get compensated for these losses too?

  • Did you clearly state in your application that you were intending to make several trips to France? Did you attach details of all your French visits? How long was each visit? – DJClayworth Apr 20 '18 at 14:08
  • Depending on when in April you want to travel, have you considered simply reapplying to the Netherlands? – DJClayworth Apr 20 '18 at 14:15
  • @Schengen.S Have you had a Schengen visa before? As you’ll see from other questions/answers on this forum a first-time applicant is more likely to be given a single entry visa. – Traveller Apr 20 '18 at 14:36
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    @Schengen.S, if you applied for a French visa because you could not get an appointment for the Netherlands, that's the problem with your application. Usually multiple-entry visa are only granted after several single-entry visit visa and you have no right to get a multiple-entry visa for separate visits. – o.m. Apr 20 '18 at 17:20
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    @Schengen.S, as I understand it they don't have to take your wish to get a multi-entry visa into account. That's a privilege, not a right. And once the individual trips were considered, you should have applied in the Netherlands for the first trip. – o.m. Apr 20 '18 at 18:44
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You will not be compensated. Even if they made a clear-cut mistake, the standard for compensation is much higher and French immigration law is generally painful to deal with.

But it's not even clear to me that the French consulate disregarded the rules or the handbook. You said they “refused” and you appealed. If I am reading this correctly, they did therefore consider your application and issued a negative decision. Whether that's warranted depends on details you did not disclose but is in any case extremely unlikely to open any right to compensation.

By contrast, if the consulate hadn't considered your application, it would have neither granted nor refused the visa and simply refunded the application fee and invited you to apply to the Netherlands. By considering it and then deciding they were not satisfied with your application, they have “dealt with it“ and fully satisfied the obligations you mentioned in your question.

Incidentally, your comments also suggest you are somewhat confused regarding the rules surrounding multiple-entry visas and where you should apply. The “main destination” rule only applies for a single trip. Multiple entry visas fall under a separate set of rules; you are supposed to apply to a country to which you have a need to travel regularly (e.g. for professional or family reasons - not coincidentally, the example from the handbook is about family trips, not repeated touristic visits).

Consulates do frequently issue them more broadly for convenience reasons, especially to UK residents, but you are not free to chain together what are in effect unrelated trips, tally the days and declare one country to be your main destination. Under a strict reading of the rules, a consulate is perfectly entitled to demand that you apply for a single entry visa for the first trip, come back and then apply for another single entry visa for the next one, etc.

As distressful as it might be, you simply won't be able to get anything out of the French state for all this.

  • I have a question: does the handbook specifically limit itself to "professional or family reasons", and forbid multiple entry for repeated touristic visits? – Bravo Apr 23 '18 at 10:14
  • @Bravo I have a multiple entry Schengen visa issued by France in London and in my itinerary I only showed one touristic trip to France and a few more countries. Despite this, I received a multiple entry visa. Therefore, I doubt multiple entry visas for touristic visits are prohibited. – crayarikar Apr 23 '18 at 14:45
  • @crayarikar They are not prohibited, at the end of the day consulates do what they want. And it is indeed pretty common for UK residents to get one without even asking under the assumption that they are low risk travelers and have many reasons to go to the continent so that avoiding repeat applications saves everybody some hassle. But that's clearly not the main purpose of multiple-entry visas. – Relaxed Apr 23 '18 at 20:39
  • @Bravo No, not at all, for two reasons. First, the handbook isn't normative, it cannot prohibit anything, it's just providing some plain language explanation of the regulation. Second, consulates are perfectly free to issue multiple-entry visas for touristic visits. But that's not their purpose and that's why you cannot expect to get one. What the drafters of the handbook did is sidestep this grey area by deliberately choosing a clear-cut example. If you read between the lines, it implies that the consulate was not in the wrong here (and there is absolutely no hope of any compensation). – Relaxed Apr 23 '18 at 20:43

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