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I (vaccinated against Covid-19, Indian citizen, studying in a city near Houston, USA) would like to visit Belgium to meet friends, but Belgium is currently not issuing visas thanks to the pandemic. I am therefore counting on the Schengen rule which says, "[if] you intend to visit several Schengen States and the stays will be of equal length, you must apply at the Consulate of the country whose external borders you will cross first when entering the Schengen area" to plan a trip to a different Schengen country for an equal number of days as Belgium which I would visit next. However, I'm having a hard time figuring out a suitable country for this purpose.

Greece has come up a lot in the news for reopening early, but the Greek consulate in Houston has been ignoring my email+phone appointment requests for weeks and no other Greek consulate in the US is willing to grant one because of jurisdiction issues. Another country I have considered is Iceland, but their website says, "Third-country citizens who are exempt from travel restrictions to Iceland are NOT permitted to travel from Iceland to another Schengen country unless he/she can provide proof to be exempt from travel restrictions in the respective state." As a practical matter, I am not sure what kind of proof I would need to provide to be allowed to travel to Belgium.

So is there any information available about Schengen countries which are both (a) issuing visas in the US and (b) allowing travel to other Schengen states? I would appreciate an answer as close to the circumstances today as possible, because I graduate this month and, following that, will not be able to ask my University for a letter supporting my visa application. Such letters are often required at visa appointments.

Note: Belgium has not currently notified the EU of internal border controls, but there is anecdotal reason to believe they exist as well as official advice from the Belgian government.

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    The reason why many Schengen countries are not issuing visa at the moment for short-term travel is simply that you would not be entitled to enter due to covid related restrictions even if you had a visa. I am not 100% sure and I just hastily skimmed through the entry rules for Belgium, but it seems to me as if you are a resident of the United States, you are currently not allowed to enter Belgium. at least not for tourisms or just visiting friends. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 17 at 11:10
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    @JonathanReez They could also go to the US, meet outside the Schengen area, etc. That's not the question or plan described here. – Relaxed May 17 at 20:27
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    @user118000 Entry regulations for Belgium depend on your place of residence and not which country you are directly coming from. You can't expect to circumvent that restriction just by entering from another Schengen country and not directly from the USA. The borders between Belgium and other Schengen countries are open because residents of all EU and Schengen countries are allowed to enter and not because you are allowed to use that route to bypass your ineligibility to enter. You must expect immigration controls also on the internal Schengen borders for now. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo May 17 at 20:30
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    "I'm not allowed to get a visa for Belgium but I am allowed to enter Belgium through another Schengen country's border, since those are not closed": that is not correct. There is a prohibition against entering Belgium for people who are not citizens of an EU or Schengen country and who reside outside the EU, the Schengen area, and a small list of countries that doesn't include the US. Even if you were physically able to cross the border without being checked by a government officer, the prohibition would still exist. – phoog May 18 at 5:30
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    @user118000 Even those websites do not always reflect the situation on the ground fully and accurately but you should at least look at official advice from the Belgian government. The website you quoted was never intended to be an accurate reflection of border checks, it's a record of official notifications to the EU, a process fraught with politics. It doesn't state or imply that there are no checks. – Relaxed May 18 at 12:38

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