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Can somebody help me with my dilemma: My wife and I were issued a tourist Schengen Visa by the French embassy. We applied through them because our initial plan was that we will stay in France the longest. However, upon further research and more detailed planning for our itinerary, it seemed more cost effective if we will shorten our days in France and add another country in the eastern side of Europe (where costs are cheaper) in our trip.

Question is: will the immigration officer see this as a red flag during our trip? Yes, we will visit France, but no, it will not be our longest stay anymore. Our point of entry in Schengen is also a different country.

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    I have the sense that you might be fine if you do this, but you might also get your visa cancelled, which could have negative consequences for a long time. How much money would you save? Is it worth the risk?
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 8:29
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    This is one of those grey areas where it could be completely unnoticed or on the other hand lead to all sorts of trouble. Apparently some of the “cheaper” countries are quite aggressive about it, France probably less (picking France for visa-shopping would be quite weird IMHO). How long will you be staying in each country after all?
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 11:40
  • Another related question: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/171916/… Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 12:03
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    It is truly as jcaron says. Chances are high, that it will go unnoticed, but if you are subject to a more thorough immigration check when entering the Schengen area, you are very likely to run into trouble. I don't agree however that it is a grey area. The visa rules are quite clear on which country you have to go to to apply for a visa and France is not competent to issue a visa for your changed itinerary. Your visa is technically not valid for the purpose you are now intending to use it for. Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 15:50

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There is a good chance that this will go unnoticed. However the downsides of it being noticed are quite severe, possibly including cancelation of the visa and/or it becoming much harder to get similar visas in the future. The only upside to you making the change to the itinerary are a saving in cost.

If you have a good reason for making a change then authorities are pretty reasonable. But your reason is not good. Your only justification is to save a bit of money. How come you didn't research costs before you applied for the visa? If cost is your main consideration France, an expensive country, might not be my first choice. This looks to the visa authorities like visa shopping and they don't like that.

My advice would be to stick with your original itinerary, even it costs a bit more, When you applied for the visa you thought you could afford it. Don't risk a visa cancelation just to save a bit of money.

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    Actually it seems like the opposite of visa shopping: picking a country which is more likely to be difficult to get a visa from (because richer/more expensive so higher thresholds for reasonable funds required) rather than one of the “easier” Schengen countries. But I do agree that researching and planning after the visa was obtained is not the best move.
    – jcaron
    Commented Jul 22, 2022 at 22:00

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