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I recently applied for a Schengen visa (short-stay tourism) for my planned travel on 26th February 2022 - 5th March 2022. The visa came back quickly and they awarded me a 2 year multiple entry Schengen visa with a “valid from” date of 1st February 2022. So they forward issued the visa to the beginning of the month, which is before my original intended travel plan that I applied with. However, as a result, I now have a valid multiple entry visa which effectively already started. So my question is, would it be okay if I travel this month before my original trip (which will still take place), or do I have to open it up with my original planned trip that I applied with?

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As initially pointed out by DavidSupportsMonica, you can enter the Schengen zone on the first day of validity. This applies as long as your changed itinerary is based on the itinerary from the application. Afterwards, you can use it for subsequent trips. But you need to avoid the perception that you lied in your original application to get the visa.

It is common to give a few extra days before and after the planned itinerary to allow minor adjustments of the itinerary. Just how "generous" they are depends on the credibility of your application, your circumstances, and probably also on the country which processes your application. Two years from the first of the month means they think you appear trustworthy.

So you should use your visa for something that has a recognizable relation to the trip you outlined in your application. You can change flights/airports and hence the country of entry, you can add a long weekend to get over jet lag and do some sightseeing on the side, meetings can get re-scheduled, etc. But if the visa was for a business trip to Iceland and you go to Greece for a vacation first, there may be questions.

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  • @thephysicsguy This should be considered the correct, more compleate, answer. Feb 7, 2022 at 7:35
  • @MarkJohnson I was about to delete my Answer, and then realized that this Answer does not respond to the precise question asked about entering as soon as the "valid from" date occurs. With that info included, it would be a complete answer. Without that info, I'll leave my Answer in place as well. Feb 8, 2022 at 1:18
  • @o.m. Yes indeed. Your Answer now covers the field, so I'll delete mine. Feb 8, 2022 at 15:12

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