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We just got our visa for Greece and we are thinking that if it is Schengen visa we should also travel to Paris. Will the same visa will work?

Will there be a problem using the same visa? We are hoping that we will not face any problems at the airport. We will enter and depart from Athens.

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There should not be any systematic control at the airport for flights between Paris and Athens. This means that your passport won't be stamped and you will probably not even see any border guard on the way to or from Paris by air (on the other hand, going by land through Serbia, Romania or Albania would mean leaving and reentering the Schengen area which your visa may or may not allow). Your time in France and Greece would be part of a single stay in the Schengen area, covered by your visa.

Beyond that, adding a short week-end trip to Paris in the middle of a trip to Greece should be fine but applying for a Greek visa and entering through Greece when the main goal of your trip is Paris (e.g. you spend two weeks in Paris with only a couple of days in Greece at either end of the trip to make the transfer) would be a blatant case of fraud and would expose you to all sorts of problems (including seeing your visa annulled and having to return to your country of residence immediately and probably having great difficulties in getting another Schengen visa in the future).

Even if you honestly changed your mind after getting the visa, if you spend more time in Paris that in Greece, it would look to an observer as if you lied to get in and chose to enter and leave through Greece to evade detection (in that scenario, if going to France for a long time was your plan all along, you were supposed to apply for a visa from France, not from Greece). Of course, since passports aren't always checked, it's possible to get away with this but planning to do it from the get go would nonetheless be an abuse of the system.

See also Should my first trip be to the country which issued my Schengen Visa?

  • -1 for "blatant case of fraud". Schengen visas are valid for the entire Schengen area and free movement within is the reason Schengen exists. As long as your plan is convincing enough to get you the visa in the first place and you stay within its limits (expiry etc), your Paris trip is absolutely fine. – lambshaanxy Mar 29 '15 at 21:22
  • @jpatokal You really need to read the regulations and educate yourself on the system. It most certainly does not exist to grant Greece the possibility of issuing or denying visas for trips whose only destination is Paris. Consequently, what I called a blatant case of fraud is misrepresenting ones' intentions to circumvent (actual, explicit) rules, not merely adding a trip to Paris… – Relaxed Mar 29 '15 at 21:34
  • For the rest, read my other answers (including the one I linked to) and comments for all the relevant nuances and distinctions, I never wrote a Schengen visa is generally not valid for other countries. Incidentally, the Schengen was also intended to grant citizens of Schengen countries border-free movement, which in turn makes a common visa policy necessary but that was not necessarily its only goal. – Relaxed Mar 29 '15 at 21:44
  • If the "only destination is Paris", sure, but that's a strawman: the OP is flying to Greece and spending time in Greece. – lambshaanxy Mar 29 '15 at 22:36
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    @jpatokal What part of “adding a short week-end trip to Paris in the middle of a trip to Greece should be fine“ do you not understand? The question was not very detailed and I described a range of scenarios to clarify what the rules really are. Again, what constitutes the fraud is misrepresenting your intentions. If you stick to the plan you submitted, there is no reason you should get any problem. But if you change your mind you might get in trouble even if you were genuinely honest. Vague handwaving about “free movement“ is not helpful to understand these subtle nuances… – Relaxed Mar 29 '15 at 22:49
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If you have valid Schengen visa issued by one of the Schengen countries, you can visit any countries which signed Schengen agreement during your visa valid dates. For example, you can get Finnish visa and then spend all the time given by visa in Spain. It's absolutely legal, however, next time you apply for Finnish visa, they can deny issueing visa to you because you haven't visited Finland with you previous visa. So it's better to enter and exit Schengen zone via country which issued visa. You can for example enter the zone in Finland, then take low-cost cost flight to Barcelona and then go back to Finland.

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    (-1) You're confusing what's legal and what you can get away with. Going through Finland for the sake of getting a stamp is just trying to hide what you are really doing. If, in your example, staying in Spain the whole time was in fact absolutely legal, it would not be grounds for a subsequent refusal and would not need to be disguised. In practice, you can often get away with doing it but the letter of the law (or in this case EU regulations) certainly allows officials to annul the visa at any time if they think you lied to get it and never intended to actually stay in Finland. – Relaxed Mar 29 '15 at 21:39
  • No, he's actually entirely correct. It's perfectly legal (= they won't be arrested and deported or something) to travel to Spain with a visa issued for Finland. What can be considered fraud and cause problems down the line, though, is wilfully misrepresenting the purpose of your journey on your visa application. – lambshaanxy Mar 29 '15 at 23:30
  • @jpatokal Fraud (or the appearance of fraud) is precisely what my comment was about, which is precisely why it's not helpful to repeat it's legal without any qualification (or cogent argument). In particular using a visa for a completely different purpose while taking steps to disguise that is definitely not legal. – Relaxed Mar 30 '15 at 0:09
  • If you stick to the plan you submitted, why would you get trouble when applying for a Finnish visa again? It makes no sense to suggest it's fine to use a Finnish visa to go only to Spain (“all the time given by visa”) but you could still be denied a visa in the future for that same reason, You can throw around vague absolute-sounding comments and pretend we disagree but that still does not explain how you could have it both ways… – Relaxed Mar 30 '15 at 0:14
  • @Relaxed There are two separate issues here. Q1: Does a Schengen visa legally allow travel throughout the Schengen area? A: Yes, see Handbook sec. 9 on "uniform visas" at ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/policies/… Q2: Are false statements in your visa application an offence? Yes, see endnotes to Schengen visa application at diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/IMG/pdf/visagb.pdf. – lambshaanxy Mar 30 '15 at 2:15
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Going surface travel via ferry to Italy and land travel from there, like train, will keep you within the Schengen zone, as will flying. You are not likely to see border officials although they can check randomly on and within the borders. But the company that transports you across borders can and should check your documents and if they do not trust that your visa allows you the travel they can decide not to transport you. As a general guide, the more details you have to give to get your visa, the less you can change in your travel without running into trouble.

  • I wouldn't call a ferry crossing "overland," though your point is well taken ;-) – phoog Mar 27 '15 at 23:55

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