Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Been Denied A Schengen Visa? Oh, Well...

Wednesday, September 4, 2013
This post was inspired by a fellow travel blogger who shared in their Facebook status that a friend of theirs from the Philippines had been denied a Schengen visa to attend a conference in Slovenia. Soon sympathies and criticisms was pouring in from all over.

But first, let's look at what a Schengen area is.

"The free movement of persons is a fundamental right guaranteed by the EU to its citizens. It entitles every EU citizen to travel, work and live in any EU country without special formalities. Schengen cooperation enhances this freedom by enabling citizens to cross internal borders without being subjected to border checks. The border-free Schengen Area guarantees free movement to more than 400 million EU citizens, as well as to many non-EU nationals, businessmen, tourists or other persons legally present on the EU territory. (Source: European Commission)

There are 25 countries under this agreement but one still must be careful- my bottled water was taken away from me at Riga's airport in Latvia on my connecting flight from London to Vilnius because-gasp!- the UK isn't in. Considering I had to buy the said loss after the security check in Gatwick, I paid a lot for it because some airport shops have no shame, so this meant not only a financial loss (still hurts, see?) but also spending money on bottled water in Riga- I must have water on flights because of the ear-aches. Now I'm smarter- I bring an empty plastic bottle, carry it through security, and then fill in with tap water in the airport premises.

Now, what I've noticed is that it's usually the people from the Philippines are denied a Schengen visa (either that, or they are the most complaining nation). The most prominent case was for Girls Who Run With Bulls when We Are Sole Sisters was denied a Schengen visa. Thy Glory O'Nigeria also has some good read about visas to Nigerian people in general. Francis Plaza tells you to avoid the Italian consulate though his quest was crowned with success (and a lot of stress, I believe). But it's nothing to compare how people with all the right documents sorted still get detained and it seems it's a privilege to enter the US as Runaway Juno found out (supported by storied by American citizens who were detained in their home country-how crazy is that?).

I live in Lithuania. This is a small country in Europe but most likely you won't manage to locate it on a world map. Don't worry, I'm also not sure where, say, Burundi is or what's the capital of Tajikistan. We have some weather extremities but nothing major like volcano eruptions and the last earthquake of 5 by Richter's scale was in Kaliningrad in 2004. We have things to be proud of (like Zydrunas Savickas, World's strongest man 7 times in a row) but we also like grumble about politics. We tend to believe that most if not all politicians are corrupt and incompetent and we like to grumble about life in general. However, one only needs to count visa-free countries that Lithuanian people can go to (87 up to date) and it's a completely different picture. The visa-free agreement is just an example that our politicians still do their job. So, before complaining how unfair it was that you were denied a visa and blame the refusing country, check out what your country's politicians have done to earn political trust. I'm sorry you didn't get your visa but this coin has two sides and one of them is the politics of your country.

I hope I haven't discouraged anyone wishing to visit Europe on a Schengen visa. It's a great continent with magnificent sights, glorious food and interesting people to explore. Please don't be angry with Europe.

Still going to apply for a Schengen visa? Click here:

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