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I have been a frequent visitor to The Netherlands and other Schengen states (for both business and tourism purposes) in past several years and had many visas issued previously.

The current visa I have is a 5-year validity (valid until 2020) Schengen Type C multiple entry visa issued by the Embassy of The Netherlands. The purpose I have indicated when I applied for this visa was "tourism" in The Netherlands and other Schengen states. I have already used this visa for tourism to The Netherlands and Italy for 8 days last year 2015.

Next month (April 2016), I will be travelling to Norway on business for 5 days. I already have the invitation letter from the host company in Norway. I also believe that I will be required for another business trip to The Netherlands in May 2016.

My two questions which I need your help in are:

  1. Can I use the Schengen visa I have now (ie. issued for tourism) to go to Norway on business?

  2. Can I use the same visa for other business visits within Schengen states?

  • a small typo, my current visa is valid until 2020 (not 2021) – Abdullah Mar 3 '16 at 6:45
  • Do you reside in the UK by any chance? – Relaxed Mar 3 '16 at 7:17
  • No, I am an Omani National. – Abdullah Mar 3 '16 at 7:21
  • OK, but I asked about residence, British citizens don't need a visa for the Schengen area so I already knew you weren't one! But never mind, it does not change the rules, it's just that it's more common to get a 5-year visa in this case (because it's considered unlikely that someone who resides in the UK would be tempted to abuse a short-stay visa and immigrate illegally), hence my curiosity. – Relaxed Mar 3 '16 at 7:22
  • Thanks. I am residence in Oman. My last visas (since 2005 have always been 1 and 2 year validity). I have been visiting Schengen states (on both business and tourism) almost every year. I work in a very reputable company which has many good relationship with major companies in the Schengen states. I have visited The Netherlands, France, Italy, Norway and Belgium several times (but mostly on business where my application for those visas were for business). – Abdullah Mar 3 '16 at 7:42
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I have completed my business trip to Norway (flying through Amsterdam). It was very smooth and I did not encounter any issues at passport control regarding the Visa. I was asked about the purpose of the visit and I mentioned it is a business visit to the company I was visiting, no issue at all. To add to this, my Schengen visa was actually on my expired passport and I was travelling with my new passport and also that was fine.

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Yes, Schengen type C visa are simply short-stay visas. Nowhere does the sticker say “tourism”. The regulation contains some lists of documents to include in the application depending on the purpose of the trip but it does not define strictly distinct categories either.

Doing something like that can be tricky with a single entry visa (which is implicitly issued for a specific trip) but multiple entry visa are explicitly intended to offer flexibility and cover other (types of) trips as well. Having all your documents with you if you are challenged is a good idea but with many past trip and a 5-year visa (it's the longest you can get and it means you are a trusted traveller, people typically don't get that the first time around or if they have a risky profile) I would not expect any problem.

  • Thanks a lot for your feedback. The visa sticker has the following in the remark: BNL2 – Abdullah Mar 3 '16 at 7:24
  • @Abdullah Here is an explanation of these codes. It does not seem to make a difference in this case (although I am not 100% sure how they are used in practice…) – Relaxed Mar 3 '16 at 7:26
  • @Abdullah: A web search suggests that "ex officio" in the explanation of "BNL2" simply means that the visa was issued by the consular post you applied to as a matter of their ordinary visa processing. – Henning Makholm Mar 3 '16 at 15:07
  • @HenningMakholm I think you are right. I further suppose that this is in contrast with BNL1, in which the case was referred to central authorities; BNL2 means that it was not. – phoog Sep 24 '16 at 2:20

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