I've applied for a Schengen visa (short stay) through the Belgian embassy in Lima, Peru in May 5th and with a lot of time 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 consular officer was a little bit curious about my itinerary (probably it was somehow "peculiar") and asked me some questions that I answered without problems about the friends I have in Belgium.
So, since the embassy requires to provide an itinerary or any other document that explains the purpose of the trip I just did the following assuming was fine: printed the booked tours that I bought (all were refundable) and added a letter explaining the purpose of the trip because it was more focused on visiting people.
To be more clear, I am planning to do the following:
- Take a tour in Brussels which includes Grand Place, parliament and other relevant places in one day.
- Take a full-day tour to Luxembourg.
- Take a full-day tour to The Netherlands.
- Go to Hasselt and visit friends.
1. Is it a fair enough one? I ask this because I am pretty sure that I got the consular officer attention for not visiting France or a more popular place for example.
On the other hand, when accepting my application I was told to call the embassy after one week to know the status of it, probably a decision have been made so, 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 just asked if that's the normal procedure and they told me that it depends on the consul, they don't even know.
Then, after doing some research I found out some useful info saying that some embassies do that with their visa applications (including short stay ones) sometimes because they want to investigate more and it's also a common pattern (especially from Belgium).
However, until today (June 3rd) I am still waiting for my visa application to be reviewed, I can track it online but nothing else, even the Belgian embassy in Lima can't say something about it 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 just a short stay visa decision and, when I've applied for other visas in other embassies, the decisions were 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 within 7 to 15 days - which is acceptable - but it can take up to 30 or 60 days in the worse case and that's too much in my opinion).
Visa application questions:
2. Did anybody experience the same before? (waiting too long for a visa decision)
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 would they like to know? I provided everything they needed.
4. How does the "Home Affairs FPS – Immigration Office" could review my visa application if all my documents are in Spanish? (plus I don't think the embassy will take the time to translate documents)
5. When the visa application processing time takes longer, did anybody knows if the embassy can return your passport back?
Overall I think the Belgian embassy in Lima was too lazy to review my application or doubted about my itinerary and sent it to Brussels just to delay the process since my trip was planned for a later time (but I am just assuming). 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 visas anymore in the near future.
At the end I cancelled my Belgian visa application since it took more than 30 days (I felt so good doing that in their face but I needed to write a letter explaining reasons) then applied through France where they gave me the visa in just one day but asked me about my previous visa application so I told them how slow the Belgian embassy was and of course I changed plans in order to spend more days in France but at the end I really had good vacations - even more days than expected - and visited France, Belgium and Netherlands so all were good news.