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Note: Re-reading the title I know it’s a mess. I struggled on making it clear and concise. 😅

My dad applied for a Schengen visa through France to travel through Europe in September and eventually meet me in Germany where I live.

But due to a medical emergency, which he had to be operated for, he was unable to travel.

Now after almost 6 months of recovery, he plans to travel to visit me in Germany without visiting France anymore.

Is it possible to enter Germany without visiting France? Or would he have to enter France initially?

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    Is this his first Schengen visa? What is the duration of the visa? Is it a multiple-entry visa? If a multiple entry visa, did he already use it? What country is he from, and what is his situation (age, working or retired, financial situation...)?
    – jcaron
    Dec 6, 2022 at 12:43

2 Answers 2

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The first issue at hand is of course to check that the visa is still valid. If that is the case...

The theory is that you should indeed follow as closely as possible the plans you outlined in your application, especially in terms of main country for the trip.

This is valid for single-entry visas, but also for the first visit on a multiple-entry visa.

Subsequent entries on a multiple-entry visa are not constrained.

The goal is to avoid “visa shopping” where applicants request a visa from a country deemed “easier” to get a visa from to then travel only to another country which is more “difficult”.

Enforcement varies widely. We have seen multiple reports of people applying for visas from countries like Slovenia where the hotel notified the authorities of the cancellation of the booking and the visa was then cancelled.

For countries like France or Germany this seems less likely, though this does not mean this can’t happen. Plans can change, so dates, length, countries visited may vary, but the main premise of the first visit should stay the same.

Note that the first visited country is technically not relevant, the country which is the main reason for the trip is. But entering through a country different from the one which issued the visa is possibly more likely to trigger questions about his itinerary and subsequently about the change of plans, but even if he enters via France they could have questions about why he is going to Germany straight away and will not stay long in France.

I would personally think that the risk in this case is quite low, especially with valid justification of why the initial trip could not be undertaken, but this may depend a lot on the circumstances.

If you want to be 100% in the clear, he can either:

  • (provided it's a multiple-entry visa, which it probably is if the visa is still valid), plan a short trip to France, exit Schengen, and then do as he pleases :-)
  • Make sure he spends more time in France or that the main reason for the trip is still in France
  • Apply for a new visa from Germany.
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  • Thanks for your comment. After speaking with my dad we both agreed that we will try and keep to the original schedule without me visiting him in France. So he’ll explore France by himself and come visit me in Germany for a few days before heading back.
    – Elaine
    Dec 6, 2022 at 13:09
  • This would be a bit of a strange rule if OPs father applied for (say) a conference in France but then ended up not going. Would the Schengen authorities then expect him to go to the conference city anyway even though the conference is long over?
    – JonathanReez
    Dec 6, 2022 at 18:51
  • @JonathanReez If he didn't enter the Schengen Area at all, I don't see why anyone would care. The problem could potentially lie in obtaining a visa to attend a conference in France and then, after the conference is cancelled, using the visa to travel to Germany instead. Dec 6, 2022 at 19:02
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    And depending where you live in Germany, France is not that far away. A train from Paris to Frankfurt is like 4h.
    – Zibelas
    Dec 6, 2022 at 20:20
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    @JonathanReez That was my point exactly. A trip to France is not mandatory. You are not obligated to use a visa that was granted. Dec 7, 2022 at 21:26
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There are two issues here:

A) Is the trip he is planning to do now sufficiently similar to the original trip that he is justified taking for granted that the permission to do the original trip extends to the new plan? To me, the answer seems like a clear "yes", as the new plan seems to be just the tail end of the original plan. But I'm not the one who'd need to be convinced.

B) If he had the new plan to begin with, he should have applied via Germany, not via France. He could face the suspicion that the original plan was never real, but just an excuse to get the visa from France (maybe because he believed French standards to be laxer, or he got the more convenient appointment there, etc).

If your father is well-suited to make the case to the German border official that this was a change of plans due to the unforeseen medical issue (having document for this at hand would help); and is overall the kind of person border agents are comfortable with, there shouldn't be much of a problem. If your father is fluent in neither German nor English; or likely to be the victim of racial profiling; or prone to anger issues, etc, this is risky.

If the visa is multi-entry, even better: This shows that he is not seen as a "borderline case", and makes the question of the France-visit somewhat less likely to come up.

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  • Hi thanks for your answer! After speaking with my dad we both agreed that we will try and keep to the original schedule without me visiting him in France. So he’ll explore France by himself and come visit me in Germany for a few days before heading back.
    – Elaine
    Dec 6, 2022 at 13:09

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