I have booked flights to and from Frankfurt already.

I had originally planned on exploring Germany, but honestly, it's my first time in Europe, so I don't care where I go, all the countries there will be amazing for me. I say this because the earliest appointment I could get at the German consulate in San Francisco is too late for me.

Because of this, I'm considering going to the Belgium consulate (earlier dates available) and changing my itinerary to be 5 days in Germany followed by 15 days in Belgium followed by 2 days in Germany. And I will be genuinely sticking to the plan that I show on my documents.

Will the German immigration authorities have a problem with this?

I am a non-US citizen living in the USA, if that makes a difference.

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    Please don't ask two different questions in a single post. Doing so makes it difficult to rank the answers, and to select a best answer if some answers target one of the questions and others the other. – hmakholm left over Monica May 23 '15 at 18:17
  • typically your visa would need to be issued by the country of entry into the EU. – jwenting May 24 '15 at 16:30
  • @jwenting- No, I am positive that's incorrect. – user1096863 May 24 '15 at 22:48
  • @jwenting user1096863 is correct. The Schengen visa should be issued by the country that is the traveler's main destination, with respect to duration of stay or purpose of the trip. The country of first entry to the Schengen area (not EU) is the country to which you should apply only if it is impossible to determine a main destination. – phoog May 26 '15 at 21:07

I have no idea about (2) -- try calling the consulate and ask! -- but as for (1):

In order to get the Belgian consulate to process a visa application, you need to propose an itinerary where Belgium is the main destination of your trip, which means it has to be the state where you will spend most of the time (15 versus 7 days ought to do it). If they issue you a visa, you need to (intend to) follow that itinerary at least roughly, or you'd be guilty of visa fraud, which is grounds for canceling the visa.

A visa issued by Belgium is valid for entering the Schengen area at Frankfurt in order to proceed to Belgium later. This is not even unusual, since Frankfurt is one of the most well-connected airports in continental Europe.

However, if the border guards in Frankfurt suspect that your true intentions do not involve going to Belgium as a main destination, you may be pulled aside for further questioning where they try to verify your story. So you should be prepared to offer details of your itinerary, ideally with bookings for your travel from Germany to Belgium, hotel reservations, some concrete idea what you're going to do with yourself for 15 days in Belgium (which is not a large country), and so forth.

If the border guard knows of your canceled appointment with the German consulate, that would certainly tend to make him suspicious. I have no idea whether the German authorities share enough information internally to make this relevant, but based on the risk alone, you ought to make an effort to have solid documentation with you when you arrive. (For example, don't plan to hitch-hike to Belgium and find a vacant B&B room when you arrive).

Oh, and try to come up with a better reason to want to go to Belgium than "it's all the same to me".

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  • Thank you very much. I will call up both the consulates on Tuesday. The point about information being shared with the border police is a good one, but if asked, I plan on saying that I hadn't been sure which country's VISA I needed and had therefore booked both the appointments, even though the Belgium vacation had been my plan all along. I think I will be able to come up with a decent itinerary for Belgium. Thank you! – user1096863 May 23 '15 at 18:53
  • @user1096863 This answer isn't entirely correct: the "main destination" can be with respect to the purpose of the trip or the duration of stay. If you had a conference in Belgium that was the reason for your trip to Europe, but you were spending 5 days in Belgium for the conference and 17 days in Germany as a tourist, you could still arguably apply to Belgium. In practice, I don't know whether one would in general be able to convince the Belgians of this, and, in your case, it's probably too late to come up with something like that without appearing to be trying to game the system. – phoog May 26 '15 at 21:11
  • @phoog: Yes, but I decided not to mention that, because it strongly appears that the OP doesn't have a purpose of their particular trip that would pinpoint one particular member state as a main destination. – hmakholm left over Monica May 26 '15 at 21:43
  • @HenningMakholm fair enough; I wanted to mention it, however, since there is a fair amount of misunderstanding regarding these rules, and the "purpose" clause is little discussed, much less, I assume, understood. – phoog May 26 '15 at 22:01
  • @phoog: Thanks a lot for your responses, I've learned quite a bit from them. I'm going to make it a Belgium trip after all, since I don't want to do anything illegal. – user1096863 May 27 '15 at 0:29

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