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The first time, I was not entitled to disclose the purpose of the travel to anyone beyond the company, so I applied for a tourist visa.

It feels, er, not completely true, but I couldn't provide an invitation from the inviting company (we didn't even know if we will sign an agreement, and the deal was a top secret).

I was rejected with a reason like "not convincing".

Is it bad?

Now I'm applying for a business trip visa. update: for a different date, for 3 days. It is not the same trip, but happens within a month from 1st application.

Should I include an explanation letter to a visa officer? What should I write there to convince the officer?

Here's why I think I need to provide extra explanations (these are USA rules but still): "As per "The Homeland Security Act - 2002" [...] When the applicant applies again in the future, the consulate officer must review the prior notes for rejection reasons. If the officer decides to grant the visa this time, he/she needs to justify the reasons for overruling the previous decision and note the same in the system."

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    The quote you supplied applies to the United States, not Germany. But yes, the German officials will be highly skeptical of someone applying for the same trip after a previous rejection while giving a totally different reason for the purpose of their travel. Normal people on the up-and-up don't say "I'd like to take a vacation to Düsseldorf. Oh I can't do that? I'd like to go on a business trip to Düsseldorf now." Why on earth would you think it was a good idea to lie on your first application? – Zach Lipton Apr 17 '16 at 23:29
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    I don't mean to be overly harsh, but you're in a tight spot. If you admit that you lied on your first application, you're going to have a serious credibility problem. If you pretend the first application never happened, you're going to have a different sort of credibility problem altogether. – Zach Lipton Apr 17 '16 at 23:35
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    I'm not an expert at fixing visa invitations, but I know something about cross-border business deals. Any deal too secret to let the other party's government know has a problem. I get the feeling your company doesn't have much experience with these deals, because they have hung you out to dry. en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hang_out_to_dry – Andrew Lazarus Apr 17 '16 at 23:48
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    @VictorSergienko, it looks like you peed in the well if I understand it correctly. In these situations you will need a very sound premise and complete transparency. No secrets. – Gayot Fow Apr 18 '16 at 2:28
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    Thanks. For what it's worth, I don't think this is a duplicate at all. The situation here is specifically about what to do after lying about the purpose of the visit on the first application. The normal advice for "purpose and conditions not reliable" doesn't seem to apply here. – Zach Lipton Apr 18 '16 at 2:50
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As I understand your situation, you've made quite the mess. You lied about the purpose of your visit on your first application, were refused, and now wish to apply for substantially the same trip, presumably without too much time in between, with a different purpose. That is bad, yes.

So you're proposing one of two options:

  • Admit that you lied before and explain the true reasons for your travel. The problem is that you'll be admitting to deception, and so your new application will have a major credibility problem.
  • Pretend like nothing happened and make a new application. The problem here is that the consular officer can plainly see your previous refusals and will wonder why your tourist trip has turned into a business trip with the exact same itinerary. This looks both desperate and untruthful. Genuine applicants do not change the purpose for their trip.

A history of further refusals will only make the problem worse at this point. The best thing to do at this point would be for your company to engage a qualified German immigration lawyer to help make a new application. You should explain to this lawyer the full details of your previous application and denial.

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    Emphasis on "your company" should pay for the lawyer. They got you into this mess, they should get you out. – Michael Hampton Apr 18 '16 at 2:46