With the holiday season coming soon, it is almost time for visa applications for those wishing to visit Europe. In this article I want to inform readers about the process of the visa application and the manner it will be judged.
For whom is this article relevant?
This article is relevant for anyone who want to apply for a visa to visit a European country for what is called a short-stay of less than 90 days. Since the system of visa applications work about the same all around the world, the advice given in this article is also applicable when you apply for other countries.
Why is there a system of visa?
Since countries want to know and control who is entering the country and for whatever reason, it is required that you first ask permission to get into the country to do what you want to do. Also countries want to be sure that those who are granted visa will return home timely. The result of this system is that visa will only be granted to those of which the receiving country believes will cause no mischief; will cost no taxpayers money and will not stay behind as irregular migrants.
How to apply for a visa?
The easiest thing is that you go to the website of the Immigration Authority of the country that you want to visit. For the Netherlands that is www.ind.nl. Choose the option of ‘Short Stay’ and you will find the application form to apply for a visa and the form to prove sponsorship. It is rather self-explanatory.
Very important is that the application is correct, truthful and is supported with information and evidence. Many applications get rejected because it is not clear what the applicant wants to do in The Netherlands; where he is going to stay; how he is going to pay for that and most of all, he will go back in time. So, provide that information.
How to support a visa application?
Important is that the letter of invitation is clear, the application is truthful and the applicant shows his reliability. Bearing in mind that many people try to obtain a visa with the purpose of irregular immigration, it is understandable that the applications will be scrutinized. If you understand that, then it is easier to understand why you have to be straight forward with your information.
So, be able to explain clearly what you are up to in The Netherlands and in Europe. People who do not provide detailed and verifiable information about where they are going and what they are going to do are not perceived as trustworthy. If one feels not competent enough to prepare an application, of course it is possible to ask a lawyer to help with it. However, there is no subsidized legal aid available and so the lawyer has to ask a fee for his service.
What information should be submitted with the application?
To convince the Immigration Authority that you will not overstay the visa, you should submit all possible evidence of your social and economic ties with your country of origin. For social ties, think of your family members staying behind, obligations that you have in your community, basically everything that pulls you back home.
For economic ties, think of any kind of economic interests you have in your country. Maybe you own land or real estate, has a business, investments, savings and all other evidence that you are doing well in your own country, so that you are not likely to stay behind in The Netherlands or the Schengen area.
Submit, out of your own initiative, all relevant evidence because nobody is going to ask for it or give a second chance to provide the evidence later on. The burden of proof lies with the applicant, so make use of the chance to submit all evidence at once and timely.
When is an application done well?
In short, when the application is clear in the sense that no additional explanation is needed to know what the applicant wants a visa for, where he is going to stay and what he is going to do and can afford that. This also indicates that the applicant is trustworthy because all information is reliable and is submitted at once.
Also you should not withhold information. Imagine, in the past you overstayed a visa but returned voluntarily. If you fail to disclose this but found out to be so, then that will be enough reason to reject the application. However, if you are open about it and provided valid arguments why you will not overstay the visa this time, maybe it will be enough to get a visa.
What can be done if the application is rejected?
First thing I advise people to do is to judge the application themselves. If you come to the conclusion that the rejection was not based on realistic and reasonable arguments, then you could consider to file an appeal against the decision.
Until recently there was subsidized legal aid available for serious cases, for instance in cases where family life was the reason for the visit or other valid reasons that made the visit important. Since 01 April 2018, that is not the case anymore. Still I believe that it is possible to make use of the option of subsidized legal aid if the reason of your visit is serious
So if you have a serious case, do not hesitate to send us a copy of the decision by e-mail and to ask for support in making an appeal. It is the mission of my law firm to provide access to the legal system of The Netherlands to all who have a valid reason to seek this access. Because of this we will do our best for you even if you do not have substantial financial means. Just let’s make contact by e-mail and see what we can do.
What to do when you want to visit our office?
Readers who are in need of legal support are welcome to visit our office for free consultation. This of course, only after you made an appointment. For an appointment call 070 427 3215 and explain to our Secretary what your question is.
Do not hold information back because our Secretary will decide if and when an appointment is possible and which of our lawyers is best qualified for the specific problem.
When you come to the appointment, bring all information that is available. Only then can we judge the case and do make good use of the time.
*A.G. Kleijweg ǀ Advocatenkantoor Kleijweg, Koninginnegracht 22 A, 2514 AB Den Haag ǀ Tel: +31 (70) 317 7700 ǀ www.advocatenkantooorkleijweg.nl ǀ firstname.lastname@example.org