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Many visa application forms have an entry field for "which countries have you visited before?". Being a Schengen citizen and resident with parents that also love to travel, I have visited a couple dozen countries, some I don't even remember going. None of these have border controls, except for the UK, and in practice it's one country.

Now, the form asks for all visited countries. What should I enter here (in general)? All countries or is "Schengen" okay? Or in my case, have you visited any other countries than your home country, the answer would be UK and US? I am looking for a general answer here, not just helping me!

Does the applicant's nationality make a difference? For example only list countries that do not have free movement? Does it matter much if I forgot to enter a country because I don't remember going there? If it is okay to leave Schengen countries out as a Schengen national, what about the UK? Or does it entirely depend on the country issuing the visa?

As I understand it these countries are mostly looking for visits to enemy nations, eg US - Syria.

  • Note: I already got my visa, I would like to see answers from more experienced travelers (well, people that had more visas issued) for future reference. I had entered all non-EU countries I visited on my application (to China) and got my visa. So did my travel companions. – Belle-Sophie Apr 16 '16 at 1:15
  • How to report your whereabouts in Schengen is a gigantic conondrum indeed. For example, Canadian citizenship (currently) requires you to get a police certificate from any country you spent six months in the last four years and it might become a huge challenge to prove you weren't in any single Schengen country for that long. – chx Apr 16 '16 at 1:50
  • @chx but it's probably easier to prove which countries you were in and that the intervening periods were less than six months in length. What do they do if you've spent more than six months in the US? How do they know which state or states you were in? – phoog Apr 16 '16 at 2:39
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    @phoog - This is why the forms ask for list of countries and not states.. – Obmerk Kronen Apr 16 '16 at 2:42
  • @ObmerkKronen but US police certificates are issued by state. – phoog Mar 2 '18 at 2:41
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..the form asks for all visited countries

This is as clear as can be - You Should write all the countries you have visited ... Schengen or not . Don't over-think this. Countries are Countries. Treaties and Conventions are treaties and Conventions.

It is true that inside the Schengen area almost no one can know - but if you have nothing to hide just list them all.. It is actually usually an advantage when they see a seasoned traveler .

In the last application I filled ( just 3 days ago ) I had to list all the countries in the last 5 years ! ( Total number : 60 )

Does it matter much if I forgot to enter a country because I don't remember going there?

The important thing is not to lie . If you do not remember is one thing. But if you omit and they find a stamp on your passport is another .

One of my Friends once made a mistake and listed DPRK ( Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or better known as North Korea) instead of ROK ( Republic of Korea - or Korea ) on his US visa application ( not less... ). He got confused by the " Democratic " part - but When he got into his interview he just said he was mistaken, showed the SOUTH stamp in this passport - and all was OK ...

Does the applicant's nationality make a difference?

Of courses it makes a difference . In some cases - even the nationality of the FATHER or MOTHER makes a difference . ( India Visa application form has a specific field to certify that parents are not Pakistan nationals, nor were born there . Pakistan has the same for India ...)

..Or does it entirely depend on the country issuing the visa?

Yes, different countries looking for different things. Some look for Security reasons, Some for health Issues , Most for both . Don't forget political issues . ( Pakistan-India , Israel- Arab countries , China - Taiwan / Tibet ). Use your common sense . If you Apply for a Chinese visa - don't list Tibet. If you apply for a US visa , try not to have Iran or Syria on your list .. If you apply for Iran visa, Don't list Israel.

Many such political-issues-affected Countries are sensitive and understanding of this issue, and for example, Israel boarder control allow(ed) you to ask them to NOT STAMP your passport on entry. ( today they do not stamp anyone anymore . You get an e-entry ticket)

Until not so long ago, When a Chinese citizen was entering Taiwan ( As Single traveler - not a group ) - they were issued a special "passport" or Document that was validated at the border and on the exit they should have returned it . That way they would not have any stamp on their re-entry to China and no one could have known they have visited there . This practice to my knowledge is deprecated now that thee relations between China and Taiwan has warmed a bit and some provinces residents can travel freely to Taiwan.

I apply for almost 20 different visas a year , and after so many applications I can tell you that this field ( visited countries) is the least problematic one ( except for obvious cases of Ebola stricken countries and political enemies )

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    "If you Apply for a Chinese visa - don't list Tibet." - as far as I remember, travelling to Tibet is usually done using a Chinese group visa. It's not like Tibet had its own border control (or even any kind of own administration, like the other examples you listed, including Taiwan). – O. R. Mapper Apr 16 '16 at 7:52
  • You are right . it is usually done with a Chinese visa . But you can also arrive to TIBET from Nepal, India and Bhutan in less usual ways . also from within China. So If you go there not with the Chinese approval mechanisms, then don't list it . – Obmerk Kronen Apr 16 '16 at 9:55
  • Very detailed answer, thank you! I'm going to wait a day to see if anyone has different experiences, otherwise I will be accepting your answer. – Belle-Sophie Apr 16 '16 at 12:13
  • As an American citizen, of course I do not need a visa, but there is a space for "Countries visited" on the landing card. On one occasion I had been on a "trip" for a year and I simply couldn't write small enough to fit them all in. I abbreviated a few (e.g., "SWITZ.", "UK", and ended with "ETC" which worked without comment from the guard. – Andrew Lazarus Apr 16 '16 at 22:07
  • @AndrewLazarus , That is a very good practice when you need to manually list them on a form. I always try to use the ISO_3166-1 country codes when I can remember them – Obmerk Kronen Apr 17 '16 at 1:40

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