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I am a Sri Lankan. I was offered a job as an Software Engineer, from a Swedish company who are expanding to Sri Lanka. After a series of interviews they have invited me to visit their offices in Sweden. I am still not employed by them. If employed I will be working in Sri Lanka, not Sweden.

I applied for a Business Visit class Schengen visa through the Norwegian Embassy (Sweden consulate in Sri Lanka only handle work permits) as advised from my potential employer.

Today I got an email from the Embassy that they feel what I plan to do in Sweden requires a work permit rather than a business visit visa, and that I should explain to them why I think a business visa is sufficient for me.

Purpose of my visit, as stated in the invitation letter submitted with visa application is,

  • Introduction of their Software functionality.
  • Study and analyze the source code.
  • Create and present future architecture in concept form.
  • Propose future business case.

I would like know what parts of this schedule may be considered 'work' that cannot be carried out on a business visit. And how should I make my case, if possible, that I am qualified to visit Sweden to do above on a business visit visa?

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    This is really something your employer should be dealing with on your behalf as they're in a much better position to understand local law and/or secure competent advice as required. – Zach Lipton May 11 '16 at 17:45
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    I suspect you should focus on the fact that you are a prospective employee (and that your prospective employment would be in Sri Lanka). In this light, your activities are a test or an interview excercise (with the purpose of allowing your prospective employer to evaluate your suitability) rather than work. But as Zach Lipton posted while I was writing the preceding, your prospective employer's immigration lawyer should be developing the strategy and advising you. – phoog May 11 '16 at 17:46
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    @DJClayworth Aren't these also common tasks for a contractor or other agency preparing a bid for a contract, but not being paid now, and not ever if the bid is rejected? Soliciting business may require a different visa than performing work. – Andrew Lazarus May 11 '16 at 21:55
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    I did get my visa! I took many points made by phoog and Andrew in this thread and explained my position in an email. They were satisfied with it! Thanks everyone! – ABH May 16 '16 at 9:54
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    @AH would you mind putting in an answer with your successful experience (maybe excerpts from your interaction with the embassy that convinced them)? That would be great for other users of this site. – mts Oct 9 '16 at 12:53
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I did manage to get the visa and am already back from a successful stay in Sweden. Here is a description of my experience.

After posting here and a few emails later I was sent a document from the embassy containing a list of reasons for exempt titled,

Exemptions from the requirement of a residence permit - Immigration Act Section 5, cf. the Immigration Regulations Section 1-1 first, second and third paragraphs

Its a long document listing many reasons to be exempt from a resident permit. Some of them are obvious ones like if the applicant visiting to take care of their family members. The ones that applied to me were following. I am quoting important parts from the document.

  • 3.1 Commercial and business travellers

Commercial and business travellers are exempt from the residence permit requirement for employment relationships of a duration of up to three months, cf. the Immigration Regulations section 1-1 first paragraph letter a).

By commercial and business travellers is meant people who are to participate in meetings, conferences, contract negotiations etc.

  • 3.2. Persons with technical qualifications

Persons with technical qualifications who are to install, disassemble, inspect, repair, maintain or provide information on the use of machinery or technical equipment are exempt from the residence permit requirement for employment relationships of a duration of up to three months...

...Examples of persons included in this category are:

engineers, computer electronics technicians, engine mechanics, power supply operators, operators (e.g. installing software), railway track workers, lift fitters, refrigeration and heat pump fitters, consulting engineers, ICT service workers, computer engineers and IT Consultants...

So I emailed the embassy citing these two points and everything I am to be doing falls under these two categories.

I stated that I will only be discussing my possible involvement in their company and the actual "work" I may do following those will be solely be done back in Sri Lanka.

I also described my technical proficiency. I provided proof that I have experience in the specific technologies that the company is looking for. I provided a copy of my computer science and engineering degree certificate.

I was polite, brief and to the point.

Within hours I was emailed that my application is approved. But they also said it was not a clear cut case and that they are assuming the best in me.

I think these are the points that I'll take away.

  • Embassies indeed want to give as much opportunities as possible to the travelers. They helped me to make my case.

  • If you are informed that your application might be dropped, ask them how to make a stronger case.

  • Be polite and brief. I am no expert but I feel this may have helped the decision to go my way when it was on the fence.

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    That's a great, thanks for coming back to answer. +1 – mts Oct 10 '16 at 6:24

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