Is it possible for someone to apply for a Schengen visa for the country in which they currently live but plan to move away from in the near future? If so, how would this work, given that you normally need to apply for such a visa at a consulate in your country of residence, but countries don't host their own consulates?

Further details: Mary, a foreign national for whom a Schengen visa is normally required, currently lives and works in Austria. She is exercising her rights to do so as the spouse of an EEA citizen who also lives and works there. She and her spouse plan to move outside the EEA in several months, at the conclusion of their apartment rental contract, which cannot be extended. Within three days of moving, they are obliged by law to formally de-register their residence in Austria, which terminates Mary's right of visa-free entry. But a couple weeks later, Mary alone needs to return to Austria for a short trip. Applying for a Schengen visa after moving away is problematic, since the visa might not be processed in time. (Fifteen days is often quoted as a guideline, though this is by no means guaranteed.) She would rather apply for and obtain the visa well in advance, before she leaves Austria. Is this even possible? If so, how? If not, what alternatives does she have? I can think of a few possibilities, none of which seems altogether above-board or without risk or extra expense:

  • Simply show up at the border with her old residence card on the expectation that the border guards won't know her residency has been terminated. (But this risks Mary being denied entry if the guards can and do check her residence registration status.)
  • Don't de-register Austrian residence right away, but rather change registration to the address of a local friend who is willing to take Mary and her spouse on as (rent-free, absentee) roommates and to sign the registration certificate. (But this isn't entirely honest, since Mary is not living with the friend, and will in fact have already registered her residence in the new country.)
  • Don't de-register Austrian residence right away, but actually book and pay for some short-term rental (say, a hotel or Airbnb) and change registration to that. (Same problems as the previous point, but with the added expense of rent.)
  • Don't apply to Austria for a Schengen visa, but rather to some neighbouring country. (But normally you need to apply to the country in which you're spending the most time, and even if Mary changes her travel plans to enter the neighbouring country first, she'd still be travelling onwards to Austria and spending all her time there.)
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    @PeterM By the same logic, anyone applying for a visa from outside of the Schengen Zone would be nonsensical, because there is no guarantee that they will even attempt enter the Schengen Zone. It's a future event that may or may not happen.
    – Psychonaut
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 12:47
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    @PeterM I kind of see your point, proving your intent to leave intuitively seems more difficult when you are already a resident. At the same time, you could also argue that being a resident makes the issue moot. After all if you were prepared to stay illegally, you could already do that at the end of your current period of residence. Refusing the visa obviously won't prevent you from entering the country!
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:25
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    But being the spouse of an EEA citizen is a bit of a corner case, leaving the Schengen area may not even be required in that case. Indeed, as long as she is with her spouse, Mary does have a right to stay in Austria or another country or change her mind about that at any time, no matter where she applied from.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:26
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    @PeterM Is it your contention that people who are notionally entitled to visa-free entry under some circumstances are not allowed to obtain a visa for other circumstances?
    – Sneftel
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:26
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    @PeterM "there can be no proof that she will leave in the near future without a time machine": why is that relevant? If they issue a visa and her plans change then she'll have a visa she doesn't need. If she applies for a visa outside the Schengen area, there's also no proof that she and her spouse won't decide to move to Austria under free movement law and never use the visa. What negative consequence is there of her plans changing after the visa is issued?
    – phoog
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 16:29


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