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I am travelling from India with my wife and two teenage daughters to the Schengen region next week. My origin itinerary was 6 days in Rome, 3 days in Paris, 3 days in Amsterdam, 1 night in Zurich before we take a flight on our next leg to Vancouver.

Since, we were planning to land in Rome and then move to France, our tickets have been booked that way. Given our travel is planned for early next week, and the Italian consulate takes 7-10 days to issue a visa, our travel agent has recommended we apply to the French consulate - they take just 3 days - with another itinerary with hotel reservations that show our longest stay is in France and not Italy. These we would then cancel once we get to Italy.

Is this doable? Or should we expect to be sent back to India? The thing is that all my travel and stay bookings made online are non refundable. And I'd hate to have my holiday ruined or substantial money lost!

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    You should have been advised to secure a visa well in advance of your expected travel date. This you did not do, and are now looking for an easy fast way to obtain a visa. Doing so you are asking us whether it would be fine to apply for a visa with fake plans and then cancel those fake plans. Am I understanding this correctly? – JoErNanO Apr 14 '16 at 13:50
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    I'm somewhat amazed that you'd "hate to have the holiday ruined" yet have left it so late to apply for a visa. I think your chances of getting through this without something going wrong are slim, but maybe somebody in the community knows a way. – CMaster Apr 14 '16 at 13:54
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    Here's the English translation of a very relevant Hungarian proverb. – chx Apr 14 '16 at 14:10
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    In the circumstances, I think your best option is to genuinely change your travel plans. Make those new hotel bookings and don't cancel them. Better to lose a few non-cancellable hotel bookings than your entire holiday. – Mike Scott Apr 14 '16 at 16:25
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    Well, whatever you do, you should definitely post about your plans on a public forum before trying to illegally get a visa under fraudulent pretenses. – Casey Apr 14 '16 at 19:02
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In order to acquire a canonical question/answer about lying on Schengen applications in our TSE archives, allow me to offer the following advice.

The strict 'party line' on TSE is we do not encourage deception. We won't do it, and any answer that proposes it will be heavily downvoted anyway.

Deception can have disastrous consequences. It goes into your Schengen transcript and remains there causing distress and embarrassment in later life. Imagine having to explain it to your employer!

From personal experience helping detainees in Heathrow/Gatwick, I can attest that people who dream up some sort of backstory because they think their circumstances are too complex to explain would have sailed right through had they been honest in the first instance.

The bottom line here is that you should always be truthful when applying for a visa. Deception might or might not work. However, the consequences for getting caught are way more severe than the one-off discomfort of having to postpone your travels and the loss of money involved.

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Instead of faking your travel plans, you should simply mention your situation when applying for a visa in Italian consulate, and ask them if they could speed up your visa delivery a bit. If you have already submitted your application, call the consulate and explain your situation to them. In both cases, be polite, apologize for applying late and ask them whether they could help, rather than insisting on shorter delivery delay.

I have been in such situation already, and so were several of my acquaintances. In all cases, being honest and polite helped much more than being bold or ingenious could have.

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    Did you really mean ingenious in that last paragraph, or did you mean disingenuous? I don't want to suggest an edit that conflicts with your meaning but the word choice seems odd given the general point of the answer. – Anthony Grist Apr 15 '16 at 14:07
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    My reading of "ingenious" here was that he meant "using strategies to bend the rules" rather than outright dishonesty. – user42324 Apr 15 '16 at 14:40
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    This. It is absolutely possible to enter France with an Italian Schengen visum (it's good for the entire area), and if you are late and they do work faster -- although I'm pretty sure that is not the case -- you can certainly apply there, with the correct travel plan. But if you are trying to be "extra smart" about it and start coming up with all kinds of lies and deceptive stuff, you are almost guaranteed to be denied (and never again be granted a visum in any Schengen area country). – Damon Apr 15 '16 at 14:43
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    @Damon Small point, but visa is the singular. Latin vīsa, feminine past participle of vidēre to see (OED). – Andrew Leach Apr 15 '16 at 19:21
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    Regardless, in English, everybody (including the law) says "Visa", so let's not try to be too clever for our own good, eh? – Lightness Races in Orbit Apr 17 '16 at 14:35
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And I'd hate to have my holiday ruined or substantial money lost!

It is far better to have your (ill planned) holiday ruined than to be in the list of deceptive applicants known to EU.

That information will surely be shared with US as well. Just to cover up a mistake, do not make use of any such advice which has enough potential to forbid your future travels to a vast number of countries around the globe. You do not appear to be someone who would like to present fake documents to obtain a visa. Your travel agent is just trying to use the sense of urgency to make you commit this blunder (he/she does not want to lose their commission), just don't.

Re-plan it with proper consideration of visa processing times and due arrangements.

And Oh, don't expect them not to come to know about it easily. Once they start asking questions and matching things up there is a lot of possibility that the presented facts wont match and your application will be most likely be turned down on the first possible hint of deception. If that does happen, it will likely to happen for a few years to come even for your genuine applications as well.

These we would then cancel once we get to Italy.

Not so easily! What will you say if an immigration officer in Italy suddenly asks you any special reasons you're landing in Italy first when you primarily applied for a French Visa? It's not that its forbidden to do that but since you applied with a fake itinerary which has changed by then your answer will not really be satisfactory.

So it's not just getting the visa that matters, you still have to be accepted for entry at the port.

Apply at the right place with right statements and if you can, do mention the sense of urgency because of this mistake. They may make room for that looking at your extensive travel arrangements, specially since you have an outward journey booked already with a visa already obtained (hopefully)

  • Regarding the "These we would then cancel once we get to Italy," I assumed he mean after passing through immigration, as opposed to in the brief period immediately after touchdown before clearly immigration. Still, though, your advice not to attempt to lie on a visa application is, of course, completely correct. – reirab Apr 15 '16 at 16:58
  • I think even if that was the case OP's assumption is still an incorrect one. If the travel agent can offer such a plan which can be cancelled free of charge after clearing immigration then why cant he cancel the current one in the first place when there is still a week to go – Hanky Panky Apr 15 '16 at 17:31
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    OP stated that his current reservations are non-refundable. Many hotels (if not most) offer both refundable and (cheaper) non-refundable rates. Same for airlines, except that there's usually a much larger difference in the fares for airlines. – reirab Apr 15 '16 at 17:42
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The rules of EU Schenghen Visa want you to apply to the Consulate of the nation where you make entry or the place of maximum stay.

Given that travel plans can change and as a tourist there are many factors that can make that happen, it is not within the realm of "deception" if there is no "mal intent".

But it does mean that you are "squeezing" around the rules.

As an example;

I was to once spend few weeks of time between NL, FR, ES and trip was flexible / open and larger part of it was to be between ES & NL, but my port of entry to EU on my trip from IN to US was FR. Fastest Visa turnaround was NL - So I went that way and it worked out - Later my ES stay got extended as my NL friends schedule changed.

I did know that was a possibility based on discussions with friends in NL & ES.

Is that deception or fake trip? No. It is an itinerary that is subject to change.

A lot of times I know before hand that things will change, as when I travel if I enjoy a place / people more I stay longer and if something gets boring, I cut it short and move to the next spot.

Again, this can only easily be done within a region. But, such is life.

You do not have to create a fake story or reveal complete truth about your scenario. Pleasantly present what you can confidently convey such that they know and understand that you are not a "flight risk" / "illegal immigrant".

PS: In my case I had extensive travel between IN, US, EU and was doing this on my return to the US, so it was a non issue.

protected by mindcorrosive Apr 15 '16 at 5:41

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