This is a modified reprint of the article of the same title that was published five years ago due to its essence and relevant now.
In our office we often see clients who have a problem with obtaining visa for family visits, tourism or business. Looking at those problems, I conclude that the source of the problem is usually a lack understanding of the procedure. For that reason it seems to be a good idea to provide information about visa. This general information is applicable to all European countries.
What should an applicant for a visa do?
There are a few fundamental questions that must be answered in any request for a visa. To help the official taking the decision concerning the visa, all information given must be clear, simple and if possible supported by documents and other verifiable information.
Provide information like your passport, but also correct information about your address and occupation. Would you believe someone could even be unclear about that?
What is this person going to do in the country and where is he going to stay? Provide information that makes very clear what the purpose is of your visit to the country. If one says one is intending to visit family and one cannot even tell who those relatives are and where they live, this is far from convincing. The same goes for visa for other purposes.
Is this person really going to return to his own country? Provide convincing information that in your case there is no risk of settlement. Submit documents that show that you are studying, you have job or that you are self-employed, own real-estate, that some of your family are staying behind in your country and whatever other evidence one can think of. This is the part where things often go wrong. People could have proven this, but they just have not thought of it and the visa get’s rejected.
Since the obligation to provide information is on the applicant, be active in fulfilling this obligation. Just waiting to see what questions are asked is not a good approach.
If one can properly answer these questions, then it is worth applying for a visa.
What about the other requirements for a visa?
Of course one must have a valid passport, a proper travel medical insurance coverage for the duration of the trip, sufficient means of support or a sponsor declaration given by someone with sufficient means of income and two passport photographs.
For information about the situation in The Netherlands, go to www.ind.nl (also in English) to find all details and also forms such as sponsor declaration.
What if the request for a visa is rejected?
Then one get’s a written statement that the request has been rejected and why with a message that one can appeal the decision. This is well possible, but only useful if one has valid arguments on why the visa should be granted in spite of the decision.
What if the visa is granted?
Within three days of arrival in The Netherlands, one must register at the web-site of the police in the region where one is going to stay. The Embassy will provide information about this.
Depending on the type of visa one is allowed to stay for a certain amount of time, to travel within, to leave and re-enter the Schengen Area. Always check and double check this. Never assume that “it will be OK” because it might not, and then a problem will rise.
What certainly not to do!
Never overstay your visa. That is likely to lead to a penalty, but also an entry ban for a certain amount of time. If you overstay, you are unlikely to get another visa in future. If you get into trouble, you get sick, your flight has been missed or cancelled, immediately contact the authorities. A proper solution will then be found.
Neither should you apply for a residence permit. If one enters on a visa for short stay, then as a rule one is not allowed to apply for a residence permit. If you want a residence permit, one has to apply for a Regular Provisional Residence Permit (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf), and through that procedure one can get a residence permit, if one meets the requirements.
Under which circumstances is it useful to consult a lawyer?
For the application one does not need the assistance of a lawyer. It is a simple procedure if you get yourself informed and follow the instructions. However, if the visa has been rejected and one has good arguments to protest; it is wise to seek the advice of a lawyer.
They must at least take (a copy of) the decision in writing in which the negative decision is given to the lawyer. Also one should take all the correspondence and paperwork concerning the application. Always tell your lawyer the full story at the first meeting.
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, Advocatenkantoor Kleijweg, Koninginnegracht 22 A, 2514 AB Den Haag
Tel: +31 (70) 317 7700 / www.advocatenkantooorkleijweg.nl / firstname.lastname@example.org