You must be wondering “What is Visa shopping?”. Well, Visa shopping is the practice of applying for a visa at an Embassy/Consulate where it is faster or easier to get as compared to others.
To travel to Europe you need to have a valid Schengen Visa. As per Schengen Visa rules, if you are travelling to more than one country, you should apply for a Visa from the country with the maximum stay. Your port of entry could be different from the country of maximum stay.
In the case, you plan on visiting two countries for an equal number of days, then you should apply for a visa from the country that you visit first.
However, many people do not abide by the Schengen Visa rules. They tend to apply for visas at Consulates which are easier or faster to get. Then they use that visa to stay in other countries for a longer period. For example, France grants visas in as less as 48 hours. In contrast, Germany takes a week or more to issue a visa. So many people apply for a visa through France and then go to other countries for longer durations.
European countries are becoming extra vigilant to stop “Visa Shopping”. Tourists from India have to go through extra checks to ensure that they did not give incorrect information to get their visas faster. Their documents and hotel bookings are thoroughly being checked to verify the furnished information.
There are 26 countries in the Schengen Zone. The Schengen Visa allows you to travel within this zone freely.
The country that you should be applying for a visa to should be the one that is your main destination. Your length of stay should be the longest for this country. Apart from this, you can also get a visa from the country that is going to be your port of entry, as per The Deccan Chronicle.
However, not many people follow these rules. Officials working in European embassies in India say that it is not possible to check everyone’s itinerary due to the huge volume of visa applications. Hence, immigration officers at the airports question tourists to ensure there is no discrepancy in the information provided.
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