Can a Kenyan citizen studying in Russia and temporarily visiting family in Kenya apply for a Schengen visa in Nairobi and not in Russia, where he has his residence?

  • How long are you staying in Kenya ? The French embassy there advises to apply at least 15 days before intended travel date, and it will possibly take more now because of holiday schedules – blackbird Dec 26 '15 at 15:04
  • Ii't my boyfriend I'm talking about. He is arriving in Kenya on Jan. 12th and is supposed to leave for Italy on jan. 28th (if he gets the visa of course). The problem is that he has his residence in Russia now, where he is studying, but the offices there close on dec. 31st and won't be open till jan. 11th. That's why he wants to apply in Kenya. – marta Dec 26 '15 at 18:50

The rules in the Schengen Visa Code (article 6) are:

  1. An application shall be examined and decided on by the consulate of the competent Member State in whose jurisdiction the applicant legally resides.

  2. 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.

So if the Kenyan in question is not actually residing in Kenya, he cannot have his visa application decided there, unless he can provide a really good reason why he lodged it there and not in his country of residence. (And "it's easier for me that way" or "I neglected to apply before I left home" doesn't count as a really good reason).

As a practical matter for the applicant, his main hurdle to clear is to convince the consular officer that he has sufficient ties to a country outside Schengen to motivate him to leave the Schengen area before his visa expires, rather than overstay as an illegal immigrant. Someone who doesn't reside in Kenya would have a hard time convincing the consulate that he has such ties to Kenya (since whatever those ties are, they haven't so far been sufficient to make him choose to live in Kenya rather than Russia), so he would need to argue that he has sufficient ties to Russia. And the consulate that has the necessary experience in judging the strength of ties to Russia (and the trustworthiness of documentation offered to prove such ties) is the one in Russia.

  • +1 for the last paragraph. Though I took a look at an application form, there's a field for "residence if different than country of citizenship". Surely they must account for that ? – blackbird Dec 26 '15 at 15:10
  • @blackbird57: Um, sure -- they're accounting for the possibility that country of residence can be different from country of citizenship. The point is that when they are different, it's the former that determines where the visa application must be processed. (But that consulate still needs to know what the citizenship of the applicant is, of course). – hmakholm left over Monica Dec 26 '15 at 15:20
  • so I understand he won't have many chances to get the visa in Kenya. He should try to apply in Russia before he leaves. – marta Dec 26 '15 at 19:35
  • 2
    @marta: Yes, that's pretty much the conclusion. – hmakholm left over Monica Dec 26 '15 at 19:38
  • @henning: thank you. By the way, can you suggest how to write a letter of invitation to invite my boyfriend over? The first time he applied he was denied the visa because the reason of his staying wasn't clear ( we had only said he was coming to visit friends). – marta Dec 26 '15 at 22:25

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