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  1. #1
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    I thought I would share this with everyone as there are some interesting plus/minus points and some changes in procedure for a Belgian Schengen.

    Plus Points
    1) Is the only Schengen state that I found where you can apply by post from ANYWHERE outside of the M25 (Austria recently stopped).
    2) The agency (embassy have now outsourced to an agency) have an online tracking system for you to trace the progress.
    3) Visa is "gratis".
    4) Agency email reply is pretty good.

    Minus Points
    1) Visa is "gratis" but there is an admin fee of £22 plus postage in each direction.
    2) The agency put nothing on the website for about a week when they send the details to the embassy. So you worry about whether they have it etc and it is difficult to get through on the phone.
    3) The agency mention a 2 day turnaround. The fact is that this is a 2 day turn around from when they forward to the embassy. They had had our application over a week prior to this.
    4) We are going for a long weekend and we got a single entry visa for precisely this period. We had hoped for longer to enable a Paris weekend too but we won't be doing that now.

  2. #2
    Member สมาชิก
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    I thought I would share this with everyone as there are some interesting plus/minus points and some changes in procedure for a Belgian Schengen.

    Plus Points
    1) Is the only Schengen state that I found where you can apply by post from ANYWHERE outside of the M25 (Austria recently stopped).
    2) The agency (embassy have now outsourced to an agency) have an online tracking system for you to trace the progress.
    3) Visa is "gratis".
    4) Agency email reply is pretty good.

    Minus Points
    1) Visa is "gratis" but there is an admin fee of £22 plus postage in each direction.
    2) The agency put nothing on the website for about a week when they send the details to the embassy. So you worry about whether they have it etc and it is difficult to get through on the phone.
    3) The agency mention a 2 day turnaround. The fact is that this is a 2 day turn around from when they forward to the embassy. They had had our application over a week prior to this.
    4) We are going for a long weekend and we got a single entry visa for precisely this period. We had hoped for longer to enable a Paris weekend too but we won't be doing that now.

  3. #3
    Premium Member Cliff's Avatar
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    Thanks for that. Do you have a link to the agency website?
    Cliff - คลิฟฟ์

  4. #4
    Moderator Tobias's Avatar
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    Cliff, the link to the Belgian Embassy is here and you will find the links to VFS from there.

    I have problems about this service again as charging £22 for the visa "service" is hardly a "free" visa for the family members of EU Citizens.
    Tobias - โทเบียส
    If you want to know where I am, follow me on my Thailand-UK Blog.

  5. #5
    Member สมาชิก
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    I did get a receipt from the Belgian Embassy indicating that there was "no charge". However you HAVE to use the agency and pay their "fee". A nice little earner for them - I will not be surprised if the other Euro embassies start doing the same thing. It is in their interest too to give the shortest possible length of visa stay and single entry. Going again means paying again.

  6. #6
    Moderator Tobias's Avatar
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    Originally posted by CPT:
    I did get a receipt from the Belgian Embassy indicating that there was "no charge". However you HAVE to use the agency and pay their "fee"...
    I'm not entirely sure that is correct - the Belgian Embassy (London) website says this:

    "... All other applicants [non-foreign diplomatic and service passport holders] can still apply at the visa section of this Embassy but strictly by appointment only! (tel : (020) 7470 3703/04 between 15.00 pm and 16.00 pm only!). "

    So it may be this is a way of avoiding the fee - and thus staying in line with EU law.

    The website does not say you cannot send in an application directly. Let's see what happens ... ...
    Tobias - โทเบียส
    If you want to know where I am, follow me on my Thailand-UK Blog.

  7. #7
    Premium Member Cliff's Avatar
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    You should seriously consider lodging a complaint with SOLVIT. It's a free service and they'll get back to you within eight days. The more people who complain about EU states ignoring their obligations the sooner things will change.

    Additionally, please read Requirements for a Short Stay Visa (Family of EU Citizen) (about two-thirds down the page linked to).

    Best of luck,
    Cliff
    Cliff - คลิฟฟ์

  8. #8
    Member สมาชิก
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    Originally posted by Tobias:
    Originally posted by CPT:
    I did get a receipt from the Belgian Embassy indicating that there was "no charge". However you HAVE to use the agency and pay their "fee"...
    I'm not entirely sure that is correct - the Belgian Embassy (London) website says this:

    "... All other applicants [non-foreign diplomatic and service passport holders] can still apply at the visa section of this Embassy but strictly by appointment only! (tel : (020) 7470 3703/04 between 15.00 pm and 16.00 pm only!). "

    So it may be this is a way of avoiding the fee - and thus staying in line with EU law.

    The website does not say you cannot send in an application directly. Let's see what happens ... ...
    Well this is an interesting theory. We are going to go to Brussels again (the trip was great!) and will call directly. Will let you know. Will complain to SOLVIT too. Thanks for all the advice

  9. #9
    Old Hand มือเก่า prikphet's Avatar
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    If I was to get one - do i have to go to belgium or can i use it to go to Spain ?
    For those with Smartphones, the blurred part to the right of the screen is called a ''LIFE' !

  10. #10
    Premium Member KhunIanB-UK's Avatar
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    nic,

    Officially, you get the visa free and apply to the country you first visit for a schengen visa. So if you intend to visit Spain you would apply to the Spanish Embassy here, however, if you intend to drive to Spain for your holiday and your first port of call was to be France to drive through to Spain you should apply to the French Embassy here, hope you get the idea.

    Unofficially the so and so's often find a way of charging for the visa either via "agency" fees or premium rate phone numbers! I have heard of people applying to the country that would be the cheapest/easiest visa and then travelling to another country as the first port of call. Obviously I would condone both of these practices, but if the countries expect to to get away with then why not the individuals...

    I wouldn't flout the rules and regs myself though and would also complain about charges levied for a "free" visa instead.

    If they give you a visa that lasts for longer than your visit though then you can use it to visit other schengen states with no problems ie French schengen visa issued, visit France first then go to Spain, Italy, Germany and back to UK no problem as long as the visa is still valid during transit.

  11. #11
    Premium Member ash's Avatar
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    Officially, you get the visa free and apply to the country you first visit for a schengen visa. So if you intend to visit Spain you would apply to the Spanish Embassy here, however, if you intend to drive to Spain for your holiday and your first port of call was to be France to drive through to Spain you should apply to the French Embassy here, hope you get the idea.
    Its either the country of arrival or your main destination so if your planning a holiday in Spain transiting via France then either would be okay.

    ash
    Old enough to remember when sex was safe and flying was dangerous

  12. #12
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    If you got one and used a hotel booking in Belgium as proof to get it and decided to fly to Spain for a few days before returning to Belgium for a few weeks then this is fine. If during your stay in Spain you telephoned and cancelled your hotel in Belgium and remained in Spain then I don't know what would the situation would be - would this be permitted or do you have to go to Belgium? The whole Schengen visa process seems unsatisfactory to me.

  13. #13
    Premium Member ash's Avatar
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    If you got one and used a hotel booking in Belgium as proof to get it and decided to fly to Spain for a few days before returning to Belgium for a few weeks then this is fine.

    If your a spouse of a UK citizen then you don't need bookings or proof of travel or anything simply the proof of relationship etc.

    As for being unsatisfactory its FREE for spouses etc and its easy.

    ash
    Old enough to remember when sex was safe and flying was dangerous

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by ash:
    If you got one and used a hotel booking in Belgium as proof to get it and decided to fly to Spain for a few days before returning to Belgium for a few weeks then this is fine.

    If your a spouse of a UK citizen then you don't need bookings or proof of travel or anything simply the proof of relationship etc.

    As for being unsatisfactory its FREE for spouses etc and its easy.

    ash
    Ash, don't need bookings? proof of travel? free ? That is great !!! BTW - the reply to me from the Belgium Visa Centre.

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Thanks for your email.


    The EU spouse needs to provide valid passport and minimum of 3 months on the UK visa, the EU passport of their spouse and the marriage certificate.


    The EU spouses will have also to provide all the means support (Bank Statements, Salary Slips) and also the travel arrangements (Transports/Hotel).


    The Travel insurance is not required in this case.

    Please note the visa fee is gratis otherwise there is a service charge of £ 22.00.


    Kind regards

    Belgium Helpdesk London

    Belgium Visa Application Centre

    5 Lower Belgrave Street

    Victoria, London , SW1W 0NR



    Office hours: - 0830-1300hrs and 1400-1530hrs,

    Monday to Friday

    Helpline: - 020 7811 3979

    0830-1300hrs and 1400-1530hrs,

    Monday to Friday

    Helpdesk: - infobelgium@vfs-be-uk.com

    Website: - www.vfs-be-uk.com

  15. #15
    Premium Member ash's Avatar
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    The EU spouses will have also to provide all the means support (Bank Statements, Salary Slips) and also the travel arrangements (Transports/Hotel).

    They are wrong we have never been asked for any of this also if you look at the form most of those questions are marked with an * and do not need to be answered by spouses.

    We only gave marriage certs ,passports proof of residence and have successfully applied for 5 schengen visas from the German embassy in Bern. Don't need one now as we live in France.

    ash
    Old enough to remember when sex was safe and flying was dangerous

  16. #16
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    Makes me mad too - all that for 2 days in Brussels !!!

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