I'm planning my big Europe trip, and I'm quite excited about it!

I have received a grant to attend a programmer conference in September, and I have an invitation letter from them. Since it's a conference, I'm applying for a business visa.

The problem I think I might run into is that I'm a freelance software engineer, and a single male. I know this type of people look the most risky, given that they have a lot of flexibility. I'm honestly attending the event and coming back, but I'm looking for some ideas to prove that my online job is stable.

As of now, I have these documents:
- Bank statement of my local bank account (of past 6 months).
- A digital certificate of earnings from the web site I use to transfer my payments. It shows how much I earned in past 12 months, 6 months, 3 months and the last month.
- I use a prepaid Master Card to withdraw my money. I also have a screenshot of all transactions of past 6 months.

The amounts match each other and I can show more money than what I would ever need. But I do not have pay stubs or checks. All transactions are completely digital.

I will also provide a hotel confirmation and a return flight ticket confirmation. I also have the invitation and my cover letter includes links to the web site that mentions that I have received the grant (along with 20 other grant winners).

I actually have two questions:

  • How accepting is the Schengen visa schemes of digital transactions? I can provide a photocopy of the same card I use, and I can even show the physical master card to them, which has my name embedded and matching card numbers. I have submitted the same documents to other embassies and had no problems. Will I have problems with Schengen?

  • Given that I am a freelancer, unmarried, living in a developing country, I understand I should show that I definitely intend to come back. I'm done with my education and I am not in the age to own a vehicle or property (I'm 23). Is a return flight ticket considered a reason to come back?

I have visited other countries and have never overstayed or violated any immigration laws. Is a fairly used passport considered as a positive point to prove that I take immigration laws seriously?

marked as duplicate by JonathanReez, blackbird, Ali Awan, Giorgio, David Richerby Nov 3 '16 at 15:30

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    A return ticket is a must, but probably not enough. You need to show ties to your home country, any family, future doctor appointments etc Having been to other countries works in your favor, especially a US visa or past Schengen visas. – blackbird Jul 16 '15 at 2:20
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    Also, are you a speaker at the conference and being paid for it ? If not, you don't need a business visa – blackbird Jul 16 '15 at 2:21
  • I'm not a speaker this time, but have some mandatory mentoring. The VFS web site says attending conferences falls into the business visa. – Ayesh K Jul 16 '15 at 3:48
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    Do you already have the UK work visa? That would demonstrate intent to leave Schengen fairly well. – Michael Hampton Jul 16 '15 at 5:07
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    I don't know what you hope to gain by debating whether this is business as there is no separate business Schengen visa. – neo Jul 16 '15 at 7:38

How accepting is the Schengen visa schemes of digital transactions? I can provide a photocopy of the same card I use, and I can even show the physical master card to them, which has my name embedded and matching card numbers. I have submitted the same documents to other embassies and had no problems. Will I have problems with Schengen?

I am curious to know what do you think you are trying to achieve by showing this card number? Spending doesn't show income and more specifically a credit card is not proof of income or funds, it is a liability on you. The only reason some embassies would entertain that is because generally in order to obtain a credit card you have to pass income checks. In my opinion it doesn't have bearing on your ability to support yourself in the country.

The good thing about your application:

  1. You are being financially sponsored by the organization.
  2. You have previous international travel on your passport.
  3. You have a formal invitation letter.
  4. You are showing income (this only goes to show that you are financially able to support yourself). The digital mastercard stuff, screenshots doesn't matter. I recommend you don't even include them in your application's supporting documents. All you would need a statement of account from your bank (on your bank's letter head) which shows steady income and your current financial standing.

Make sure the following about your additional supporting documents:

  1. Hotel reservation (if not part of your sponsorship from the organization). You should show a booking that shows clearly your name (as it appears on your passport), the check-in and check-out dates should be concurrent with your conference dates.

  2. Flight reservation (a ticket is not required). It should show your outbound and inbound flights.

  3. "Proof of ties" - this is where you have a few question marks; but your international travel should alleviate some of this.

The rest is up to how you answer the questions at the interview; however in my experience as having applied to many a consulate you are certainly above the norm (as a matter of risk).

  • I'm sorry I should have mentioned that the card I mentioned is not a credit card. It's issued by a company called Payoneer. My earnings get deposited to the card, and I withdraw cash from an ATM. When you say "above the norm", did you mean above the normal to positive side, or more towards the vagaries side? – Ayesh K Jul 16 '15 at 7:17
  • It doesn't matter if its a debit card or a credit card. I can have 5 debit cards and zero funds in my account. You have to think what you are trying to achieve by providing the officer this information. If you just try to bulldoze them irrelevant "noise", they are quickly going to reject your application. Even if the officer knows what is Payoneer they may not be allowed to rely on this as proof of financial support (I would not be surprised if they have strict guidelines on this). So, go with something that cannot be doubted as you want to avoid having to restart your application process. – Burhan Khalid Jul 16 '15 at 7:21
  • Right. Thank you very much sir. Very helpful. – Ayesh K Jul 16 '15 at 7:24
  • @AyeshK in addition to showing your income, you might want to include some evidence that it is derived from legal activities, namely, contracts for software work that specify the payments you report. Otherwise the authorities have no evidence to eliminate the possibility that the income is part of a money-laundering scheme, or is derived from drug trafficking or some other illegal activity. – phoog Jul 16 '15 at 15:59
  • Thanks @phoog. I have a document that mentions I received money by providing freelance services from the web site I use to manage my clients. – Ayesh K Jul 19 '15 at 21:42

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