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Background:

I am going to Sweden this summer to take part in an art competition. I have an invitation letter from the organizer in Sweden, plus my main purpose of going to the Schengen area is to be at this competition. But because I have some other travel plans, I decided to submit a tourist visa application to the Swedish embassy in my home country. My trip agenda is superbly detailed and very truthful; all my hotels are booked.

Problem:

After the competition (5 days), I plan to travel to Norway (7 days). When I was submitting the application at VFS for Swedish visas, the VFS staff didn't say anything and accepted my dossier. The next day, VFS said I should apply for a Norwegian visa instead, because my stay in Norway is longer.

Question:

What would be the best solution now? Clearly it would sound weird if I give the Norwegian embassy an invitation letter to go to Sweden. But now my application is already with the Swedish embassy, and I could do nothing about it. What is the likelihood of being rejected? Should I wait for 15 days and pray? Or should I ask the embassy to retrieve my application?

Spin-off question:

Is number of nights spent the only criteria in determining which country the main destination is?

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    If VFS has actually passed your application on to the Swedish consulate and the consulate has not rejected it, just let it continue processing and ignore what VFS says -- they're not making any decisions and seem in this case to have misunderstood the main-destination rule. – Henning Makholm Jun 19 at 11:02
  • Speaking from experience, your application will not be rejected just because you applied at the wrong consulate. The consulate will refuse to process it and will refund the visa fee (though not the VFS fee). Such decisions are very fast. So If you haven't heard from the consulate, in all probability, they have decided to continue processing your application. – RedBaron Jun 19 at 11:07
  • Article 5 of the Schengen Visa Code, regulation EC 810/2009, amended states "The Member State competent for examining and deciding on an application for a uniform visa shall be: [...] the Member State whose territory constitutes the main destination of the visit(s) in terms of the length or purpose of stay" (emphasis mine). Many sources (including official EU sites) shorten that to just length of stay. – jcaron Jun 19 at 11:53
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    @jcaron: Note that an amendment to the regulation that changes it to solely length of stay was passed two weeks ago, but has not entered force yet. – Henning Makholm Jun 19 at 12:01
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    @HenningMakholm They changed the wording, but the purpose is still there: "[...]main destination of the visit(s) in terms of the length of stay, counted in days, or the purpose of stay". It seems the main objective of the change was to cover multiple trips rather than just a single longer trip. – jcaron Jun 19 at 12:04
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If it is a multi-entry, long-term visa and it actually gets issued, you should not have problems entering Sweden (I assume this is first port of entry) and also you should not have problems entering Norway (or is it on the same trip?). If anyone asks why Sweden and not Norway, just answer that you have plans to re-visit Sweden later when on the same visa. Please note that it is much easier to enter on the same visa for a second time after already entering and exiting on this visa - chances that you will have zero questions asked.

If for some reason the visa will not be issued, you can try re-applying to Norway.

If this is a short-visit visa it may indeed look weird that you spend more time in the "wrong" country. Otherwise, it may be unusual but it does not put you even remotely in the danger territory, as it would if you'd travelled directly to some 3rd Schengen country instead or tried to do an airport transit to 3rd country via Sweden on that visa.

Also, Sweden may be reluctant to issue further visas to you if you spend less time in Sweden on it than on other Schengen countries. Other countries likely won't care. If Sweden and Norway are on the same trip, they're likely not able to figure out how much time really spent in what country.

  • Thanks for answering, alamar. I'm applying for a short-term single-entry visa, since the trip is less than three weeks and I'm not exiting the Schengen area and then back. I know that with a visa from either country I won't have problems entering the other. The issue is: I was told that I had submitted the visa application to the wrong embassy, and I'm worried that I might be rejected in the first place... – Nemo Jun 19 at 11:43
  • Would you be going to Norway if it wasn’t an add-on to the trip to Sweden for the competition? Seems to me that purpose makes Sweden the main destination – Traveller Jun 19 at 11:59
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    As stated in one of the comments to the question, submitting an application to the wrong embassy/consulate shouldn't result in a rejection, but in a refusal to process and redirection, and as long as it's not the embassy/consulate that has said anything, just trust that you have sent it correctly (your own initial thought, and now verified here). – Henrik Jun 19 at 12:44
  • To be extra sure you can ask Sweden consulate to stop processing, then resubmit with Norway. – alamar Jun 19 at 13:10

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