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I plan to visit the Schengen area for the first 2 weeks of May. My primary reason is to attend a conference in Croatia and then tourism in Italy. However, I would be in Croatia for 6 days and in Italy for 8 days.

My itinerary:

Dates Country #Days (as counted by the Croatian appointment officer)
30Apr - 5May Croatia 5
5May - 13May Italy 8
13May - 14May Croatia 1

I went for my visa appointment at the Croatian consulate and they denied the visa saying I am spending an extra day in Italy and I need to apply at the Italian consulate. I counted my itinerary as spending 7 days equally in two countries and hence applied at the Croatian embassy. I didn't think 1 day extra would make a big difference given my primary business reason was in Croatia.

Now, I have got a slot in the Italian embassy. But I wanted to make sure I met the right conditions to avoid a similar situation.

I tried mailing the Italian consulate by got no response. Hence posting here for any help/advice.

I have 2 questions:

  1. Would I likely face any issues at the Italian consulate cause I am entering and leaving the Schengen area from Croatia? As Italy is not my port of first entry. I have read the documents stating that you apply at "the country of longest stay", but also lot of heresay on questioning by officers when it is not the country of first entry.

  2. Should I apply for "tourism" or "business" short-term visa in the Italian application? Technically, its business in another country but tourism in Italy.

Also, any other steps I can take to give more clarity to my application so it has a better chance when I go to the Italian Consulate appointment?

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    The denial was unjustified, the Schengen Visa Code explicitly states “the Member State whose territory constitutes the main destination of the visit(s) in terms of the length of stay, counted in days, or the purpose of stay”, but that seems to become a recurring trend. Probably their way of saying “spend more time here if you want a visa from us”. Was it the actual consulate, or a third-party agent like VFS?
    – jcaron
    Apr 6, 2023 at 22:21
  • It was the actual consulate. Yeah, it is very surpirsing. I dont know to whom to raise the issue. Either any higher ups email or something Apr 7, 2023 at 0:34
  • Did the refusal letter include any information on how to appeal the decision?
    – Traveller
    Apr 7, 2023 at 6:56
  • @Traveller In principle, it shouldn't have been a refusal. They most likely simply declined to process the application. If that's the case, they would refund the visa fee and you don't really have a decision to appeal.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 7, 2023 at 9:06
  • @relaxed - yes, it was not a refusal. They just declined to process and gave me back my money order. So i do not have any documentation from their side. Im thinking if i should ask them for an email confirmation? Apr 7, 2023 at 13:56

1 Answer 1

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Would I likely face any issues at the Italian consulate cause I am entering and leaving the Schengen area from Croatia? As Italy is not my port of first entry. I have read the documents stating that you apply at "the country of longest stay", but also lot of heresay on questioning by officers when it is not the country of first entry.

Entering and leaving through Croatia really shouldn't be an issue. As you experienced, the length of stay is more likely to be an issue but since you're staying longer in Italy, this would probably give them enough grounds to process your application (although your original interpretation was the right one and Croatia definitely should have done it in my opinion).

Should I apply for "tourism" or "business" short-term visa in the Italian application? Technically, its business in another country but tourism in Italy.

It shouldn't matter too much but since the trip is still a business trip, that's what I would check. Online forms often enforce rather arbitrary distinctions but the original paper form would also let you check several purposes or pick “other” and write something like “business and tourism”. Of course, it won't help much against an ill-informed third-party visa processor or a stubborn consulate employee but those are simply not hard-and-fast categories of visa.

As discussed in the comments, the key requirement here is to be truthful about and provide documentation regarding the purpose of your trip. So I would recommend mentioning the conference and submitting the relevant documentation no matter what.

Also, any other steps I can take to give more clarity to my application so it has a better chance when I go to the Italian Consulate appointment?

One thing you could do is write a letter to lay out in more details what your plans are, beyond what can be communicated through a form and attach that to the application (again if there is a field for that somewhere).

Do point out that Croatia declined to process the application as the main concern ought to be whether you're trying to sneak into Croatia without giving them a chance to review your application. Since you have properly applied to the Croatian consulate and they decided that Croatia wasn't the main destination, there really should be nothing stopping Italy from processing it now.

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  • One issue is that the documentation to provide is not the same for business and holiday purposes of visit, so OP will probably have to include documentation for both.
    – jcaron
    Apr 7, 2023 at 14:49
  • @jcaron Yes that's true but they would be well advised to do that no matter what. The visa code includes a “non-exhaustive list of supporting documents” that “may include” a bunch of things but the requirement is always the same: Establishing the purpose of your trip. So if you go to Croatia for a conference you should definitely (1) disclose that fact and (2) provide relevant documentation to support that purpose like a proof of registration or invitation letter. From that perspective, what you need to provide just reflects from the nature of your trip, not what box you check.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 7, 2023 at 17:07
  • @jcaron : I am carrying documentation for both business and tourism purposes. My only issue is for Italian business visa, they are asking a letter from an Italian company - which I do not have as my business need is in Croatia for conference. So the business support docs are Croatian. I hope the consulate officer is rational and understands the situation. Apr 10, 2023 at 15:41

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