Please read carefully in order to understand my questions and sorry if I typed too much.
I applied for a Schengen visa (short stay) through Belgium embassy in Lima, Peru (my home country) on May 5th, well in advance since I plan to travel starting August.
My application was accepted - it was really a pain to prepare all those documents - however, that day the interviewer was a little bit curious about my itinerary, asked me some questions before processing my application which I answered without problems (probably the itinerary was somehow "peculiar" or different from others).
Just to know, this is the first time I am planning to travel Europe (I already travelled to other countries) and first time applying to this visa so, since the embassy says to provide an itinerary or any other document that explains the purpose of the trip and nothing else, I just did the following (assuming was fine): printed the booked tours that I bought (all are refundable) and then printed schedules, entry fee and description from the places I wish to visit in other city like museums, nature reserves, parks and other places from its official tourism website (no reservation was needed). Then I also added a letter explaining the purpose of the trip.
To be more clear, I am planning to do the following:
- Take a couple of days to just rest, explore the city and feel better because of jet lag.
- Take a tour around Brussels which includes Grand Place, parliament and other relevant places in one day.
- Take a full-day tour to Luxembourg and visit relevant places.
- Take a full-day tour to The Netherlands and visit relevant places.
- Return Brussels and move to Hasselt to go shopping, visit museums, Japanese garden plus other places.
Please don't judge me because I am not going France or I didn't plan to visit most interesting places/monuments, I just want something more "quiet" and spend money but in a way I can handle. So, my stay in Europe will be just for 13 days (6 days in Brussels, 7 days in Hasselt) and I think is a "good" starting point since I am a first-time traveller that likes cities and only wants to feel a little bit "relaxed".
My question regarding my itinerary could be:
1. Is that a good one for a starting point? I think everybody is free to do whatever they want but I don't know if what I planned is valid at all since it also caught the attention of the embassy interviewer and one of her questions was if I know someone else in Belgium (I don't have any friends there, I am just trying to do something different, I argued).
Now that my application was lodged (it was admissible) I was told to call the embassy one week later to know the status of it, probably a decision could be ready and, when I did it, they told me that my application was forwarded to Brussels for consultation. It seems that somehow the consul did that with my application in May 8th and was received by the "Home Affairs FPS – Immigration Office" (https://dofi.ibz.be) in May 11th for a final decision and, when that happened, I asked why the procedure was like that and they told me that it depends on the consul, they even don't know.
Then, after doing some research I found some useful information on internet which said that some embassies do that with their visa applications (including short stay ones) sometimes because they want to investigate more and I also found that it could be a common pattern too (specially from Belgium embassy - sorry for not providing the sources).
So, until today June 3rd I am still waiting for my visa application to be reviewed, I can track the visa application through the website specified above but nothing else, even Belgium embassy in Lima can't say something regarding this and everything is just a matter of time but for god sake! A month will pass in some more days and that's too much for a short stay visa decision and, when I did such things before in embassies from other countries, the decision was taken immediately or in some more days but nothing like this (from what I have read, it seems that you can get a Schengen visa in 7, 15 days which is acceptable but also up to 30 or 60, can vary but that's too much from my point of view).
My questions regarding the visa application could be:
2. Did anybody experience the same before? (waiting too much time for processing a visa application and going through the "Home Affairs FPS – Immigration Office"). Are they so strict when deciding positive/negative?
3. If they want to investigate more about me and supposing that's the reason why they moved my visa application to Brussels, what else could they expect or want to know? I provided everything they want, I also work since many years (around 5 continuously in two different jobs as software engineer) have a car, money, credit cards, etc.
4. How do they will review my visa application? all my documents are in Spanish (my native language) and everything is like that because embassy never required to translate them to English, French or Dutch and I assume they received the documents as they are.
5. When the visa application processing time takes longer, did anybody knows if the embassy can return your passport back? I can't stand what a person could do if he needs to travel during the waiting time for example - I think this could be valid since the times are not reasonable because we are not talking about just few days (in some cases).
After all that it seems to me like Belgium embassy in Lima was too lazy to review my application and sent it to Brussels just to delay the process since my trip was planned for a later time (I don't know, I am just speculating). I am also a little bit frustrated since I don't know if I will be allowed to travel or not and I already have holidays assigned at work plus a refundable flying ticket already bought! Hopefully my country won't require Schengen visa anymore by the end of this year (I know latin-americans sometimes are not looked in a "good" way but people like me only want to travel, not work or become a risk).