I'm going to Europe and spending 3 hours in Copenhagen (two separate flights: would have to recheck my luggage), 3.5 days in Amsterdam and 3.5 days in Paris.

My original plan was 3 nights in Amsterdam and then taking the train in the evening and then spending 4 nights in Paris. However, the Schengen visa requirements for France are infeasible for me while those for Netherlands are perfect. Accordingly, I am curious if:

  1. I need to switch my train booking in order to ensure 4 nights in Amsterdam and 3 in Paris? [So that Amsterdam is definitely the main destination]
  2. a) Alternatively, would the original plan be considered as equal lengths in Paris and Amsterdam at which point Amsterdam is the first destination? Or b) is it Copenhagen in that case? [is it first destination among equal duration ones or in general?]
  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Schengen visa. What qualifies as main destination?
    – user4188
    Mar 10, 2016 at 7:30
  • I read that but the answer said "duration of stay determine such status" without clarifying how the duration of stay is calculated. In my case: is it nights or days or hours?
    – GGMU
    Mar 10, 2016 at 7:34
  • 2
    What “requirements” are you talking about? Guidance from the consulate regarding what they want you to submit with your application? The actual legal requirements are defined in an EU regulation and as such exactly the same.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 10, 2016 at 7:43
  • Read travel.stackexchange.com/a/64842/4188 this answer. Especially the closure: If you cannot tell, apply at the first country of your itinerary.
    – user4188
    Mar 10, 2016 at 7:44
  • @Relaxed: requiring a faxed confirmation of a booking instead of online printouts from AirBnB as well as requiring a minimum US Visa duration after leaving Schengen (applying in the US).
    – GGMU
    Mar 10, 2016 at 9:58

1 Answer 1


It's not really “calculated”, the visa code does not say anything else than “main destination” without defining it and there is some room for discretion by consulates. Intent matters too (say if you are going to a wedding in France, it could be deemed to be your main destination even if you spend a week in the Netherlands).

Regarding your other question, the first destination is really the first destination. But in practice, I have heard about consulates refusing to consider applications in a similar scenario and deferring to the “first country among equal duration ones”, which has no basis in the regulation.

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