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I did see a couple of questions which are similar but I still see no clear/concrete answer, hence I am asking it again.

I am a student from India here in Grenoble, France on an internship for the months. And I lost my passport the day I got here (sucks … I know :/). I had a type C visa on it, which was issued on 12-05-2015. So, it is (I think) still valid.

I registered a complaint at the police station, I got a new passport from the Embassy at Paris. As of now, things seem better.

The unfortunate complication is, I need to travel to Italy for a workshop at the end of June. And my question would basically be, how would I do this without a visa.

Would I have to apply for a new visa or is there some way that I can get it reissued?

Point to note: I will be going to Italy by road via Geneva. (The organisers of the workshop have arranged for buses from Geneva, so I will have to go there first).

I contacted the French Consulate in India who directed me to go the prefecture here. A friend of mine (local) had gone to the prefecture, and they gave the impression that they would not do anything about it (even after reading the mail from the prefecture). But he said, that they told him I am allowed to continue staying in France (he said Schengen zone but I am not sure if he said that or the prefecture did) as my visa is valid.

I (actually my friend) then contacted the French Consulate again, who said that it is forbidden to travel to without a visa. They were talking about some sort of stamps that would be put in Switzerland (I don't clearly understand because the mails were in French). They said that at best they would ensure that I can stay in France without any problems.

Now I guess the next logical step maybe to apply for a visa at the Italian Consulate, but the weirdest part is there is no mention about how to apply for visas in the website of the Italian Consulate. They only have sections suggesting how to apply for new passports and mostly are directed only to Italian nationals.

I was of the impression that since I am already in the Schengen area, it would not be an issue to travel to Italy. But the response from the French Consulate in India worries me.

  • Possible duplicate of travel.stackexchange.com/questions/10590/… – phoog Jun 4 '15 at 19:09
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    I found a "Visas" link on the web site of the Italian consulate in Paris. It's on this page: consparigi.esteri.it/Consolato_Parigi/Menu/I_Servizi/…. Clicking the link results in a "404 - file not found" error, no doubt for the reasons Relaxed mentions. You might try going to the consulate and asking to apply for a visa. Normally, one can apply for a visa only in one's country of residence, but there is an exception in article 6 paragraph 2 "if the applicant has provided justification for lodging the application at that consulate." – phoog Jun 4 '15 at 19:39
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I still can't offer a full answer but I can hopefully clarify a couple of things:

  • You won't receive any stamp by going through Switzerland, the consulate is definitely wrong about that. That would be an issue if you would have to leave the Schengen area (that's definitely not possible without a visa) but France, Italy and Switzerland are all in the Schengen area so there are no systematic border check between them.

    Maybe they misunderstood your friend or they thought Switzerland is not in the Schengen area (would be quite disappointing that someone working in the diplomatic service would not know it but many people are confused about this as Switzerland is a bit of a special case: they joined later and, unlike most other Schengen countries, are not part of the EU).

  • Notice that I said no systematic border check but the French-Italian border has become notorious for ostensibly ‘random‘ checks (although possibly more in the South than around Grenoble) so it's entirely possible that the police will want to see your visa. (A préfet even recently gaffed on TV by essentially admitting that the police did perform checks at the border in the presence of the prime minister and then quickly correcting himself by adding something like “huh, I meant ‘non-systematic‘”.)

    To the extent that the Swiss-Italian border is less intensively patrolled (if it is, which is unlikely because Swiss border guards still maintain a presence for other reasons), going through Geneva could in fact help but alas the most logical route from Geneva to many places in Italy goes through… France. So you would actually be crossing three of the most sensitive internal borders during the trip (by contrast, I have never seen a Belgian border guard in my entire life and I cross that country frequently as well).

On the other hand, travelling with a group of people in a private bus might actually be to your advantage. They do check public transportation (regular bus lines and especially trains) and occasionally take a glance at private cars but I don't think they often inspect touring buses. I don't really know, however.

I don't think being in Italy makes any difference legally speaking, you would still be in the Schengen area under the cover of your Schengen visa but with no easy way to prove it. But crossing borders does increase the likelihood of a check, even within the Schengen area, and since all you have is a police report written in French, explaining your situation would be a little more complicated outside of France.

I also believe the details of your visa should still be recorded in a database called the VIS so that should be enough to avoid serious consequences but you could be in for some serious unpleasantness before they even get to check that and accept your story.

  • You most likely won't be able to apply for an Italian visa in France. You are not a resident (you're on a short-stay visa, even if you lost it) and it's usually required to be one to apply for a Schengen visa. You would even have to present documentation to that effect for a consulate to examine your application. Besides, your French visa is still valid, and as I said, recorded in the database so I don't think Italy would issue another overlapping Schengen visa.

    One reason the Italian embassy does not offer much info on all this could be that very few people are in a position to apply for a Schengen visa for Italy from France (although this eventuality is explicitly considered in article 7 of the Schengen Visa Code) because if you are legally present in France, you either already have a Schengen visa or you don't need one. In the first case, you would not need to apply for another one because your visa covers both countries. In the second case, it usually means you are a resident in France but then you already have the right to go to Italy without visa using your French residence permit, so you don't need to apply for a Schengen visa either.

So in summary I don't see anything that would unambiguously forbid a trip to Italy but in practice it would indeed seem prudent to stay in France. Unfortunately, I can't tell you more than that but maybe someone else will.

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    What about visa code article 6 paragraph 2? It says (emphasis added): "A consulate of the competent Member State shall examine and decide on an application lodged by a third-country national legally present but not residing in its jurisdiction, if the applicant has provided justification for lodging the application at that consulate." – phoog Jun 4 '15 at 19:40
  • @phoog It could perhaps be used (will nuance my answer on that point) but as far as I can tell it's also mostly intended for applications outside the Schengen area. The problem is still the same: If you are legally present in France, it's in most cases because you either don't need a Schengen visa, already have one or because you have a residence permit/long-stay visa so I don't think Italian consulates in France receives many such applications. – Relaxed Jun 4 '15 at 20:00

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