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Let's say I already have a tourist Schengen visa which will be valid at the time of the conference, so getting another visa is not exactly desirable. I plan to pay for the conference myself and the subject of the conference is connected to my job only indirectly. However since my activity in the country could not be exactly described as a tourism, I'm curious is it really fine?

Also to expand questions further, by quick googling I couldn't find what are exact regulations of what you can and can not do with certain type of Schengen visa (most of my findings are about the requirements of getting the visa), so some useful links would be appreciated.

  • What's your passport, and which country is it in? – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Apr 15 '15 at 8:11
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    @MarkMayo I'm from Russia and the country is Germany, however I don't think that it matters very much. – Predelnik Apr 15 '15 at 8:14
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    @Predeinik, it doesn't in this case, but I just check - in the past we've had a lot of people who think certain countries are in the Schengen zone when they're not ;) – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Apr 15 '15 at 8:14
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There is no such thing as a “tourist” Schengen visa. Indeed, you won't find any information about “categories” of short stay visas in the regulation because there are only three types of Schengen visas: short stay visas, airport transit visas (which do not allow the holder to get out of the airport) and limited territorial validity visa (for special cases including some refugees or diplomats; you won't get one without knowing). All regular short stay Schengen visas cover a range of different purposes, including attending conferences.

On the other hand, lying on the application (i.e. pretending you are going to do some tourism when you want to attend a conference) is obviously not OK. But if you hold a multiple-entry visa and already used it for the trip you mentioned in the application, then it's completely fine to use it for other purposes.

Be aware that border guards can check that you fulfil the conditions of your visa at any time and therefore inquire about your income, purpose, etc. when crossing the border, even though you had to explain all this to get the visa in the first place. So it's good to have documents to establish the purpose of your trip in case someone asks. See Attending an academic conference is what type of travel? to know what those documents are in your case.

See also Can I use my Schengen visa for a completely different purpose and entry point? Use of unused Schengen visa to travel to Switzerland or Should my first trip be to the country which issued my Schengen Visa? for detailed explanations of what you can and cannot do with a Schengen visa in a range of related situations.

  • Thank you very much for clarifying all that and useful links. Actually that's exactly my case: I have multi-entry visa and I've successfully used my first entry according to the plan I provided for getting it. I guess the ticket / invitation to the conference would be enough to prove the purpose of the trip in case if it would be needed. – Predelnik Apr 15 '15 at 8:46

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