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Scheduling a Schengen Visa appointment is not always as easy as a phone call or a quick email. In fact, you may not be able to schedule an appointment that suits your convenience. Recent demand for visas has left the embassies with few appointment slots available. Meaning, you'll need to schedule a visa appointment ahead of time if you wish to get your visa in time for your next trip. Unfortunately, some travelers aren't fortunate enough to get their visas on time.
This is what happened to me...
Quick note: To skip my tragic story and get to the good parts, click here.
My recent Portugal Schengen Visa application was probably the worst and most stressful visa experience I have ever had. Nevertheless, I'll try and keep my story short...
It all started out perfectly. Before my trip, I ensured that I did enough research about the Portugal Schengen Visa application. Then, after reading through plenty of articles, I felt confident about the Schengen Visa application process. After that, I started with the first step of the application process, which was gathering all the required documents. These documents included bank statements, valid health insurance, and so on.
To be honest, I was on a tight schedule as our planned trip to Portugal was pretty impulsive. However, I ensured I left enough time for each step of the application process.
Nonetheless, I didn't consider how long it would take to gather all my documents. It turns out I spent a few extra days getting things ready. At that time, I didn't realize the importance of scheduling a Schengen Visa appointment on time.
After collecting all my required documents such as visa photos, a flight itinerary, etc., I tried phoning our nearest Portugal Embassy to schedule my appointment.
Quick note: For those who don't know, scheduling a Schengen Visa appointment is an essential step of the Schengen Visa application. At the appointment, you need to submit your Schengen Visa application form and all your supporting documents. Also, you will need to attend an in-person interview with a consular official. During the interview, you'll submit your supporting documents and answer a few simple questions about your intended trip to the Schengen Area. After your interview, you'll need to pay the visa fee, and embassy officials will collect your biometric data.
To my surprise, this was the most challenging part of the application process...
First, I had to find an embassy closest to me (to reduce my travel time). So, after scouring through google, I finally found the Consulate General of Portugal closest to me.
Once I found their number, I tried phoning them. Sadly, I was put on hold. I'm guessing that the Embassy was quite busy that day. However, I couldn't wait too long because I had a lot of things I had to do (like work). So I decided to phone the next day.
Luckily, the next day a kind lady answered the phone. I greeted her and told her that I wanted to schedule an appointment for my Schengen Visa to Portugal. She was happy to help and asked when I would like to attend the appointment.
I asked if it was possible to schedule an appointment for the upcoming weekend. Sadly, there were no slots available for the day I wanted. A bit nervous, I asked if there was any other date available during the following week. Fortunately, I could schedule an appointment for the next Tuesday.
As life would have it, I couldn't attend that appointment (I had an important work meeting). So I had to reschedule for another date.
In the end, I finally attended my rescheduled appointment. But, unfortunately, the processing time for my visa took a while, which caused me to miss my flight to Portugal. A tragic but true story.
That's why I decided to share my experience so that what happened to me won't happen to anyone else. Next, I'll give you some things to keep in mind when you schedule your appointment and some general tips you can use.
To ensure that you get your Schengen Visa in time for your trip to the Schengen Zone, keep the following things in mind when scheduling a visa appointment for your Schengen Visa.
You must leave enough time for yourself to gather all the required documents for your Schengen Visa. You might be surprised how long it can take to meet the Schengen Visa requirements. Think of it like this. Suppose you collect all your documents a week before. In that case, you'll effectively add another week to your visa processing time (should you need it).
Before you start collecting your documents, you can opt to schedule an appointment from the start. Then, all you need to do is ensure that you have all the required documents before your appointment.
The sooner you start the Schengen Visa application process, the more time you have to complete all the visa requirements. The earliest you can start the application process is 3 months before your intended date of departure.
In my case, I was applying for a Portugal Schengen Visa. Meaning I had to attend an appointment at the Portuguese Embassy/Consulate. I only contacted the nearest Portuguese Embassy. However, there is more than one Portuguese Embassy in my country. Maybe if I had contacted another Embassy, there might have been an earlier appointment slot available.
I would recommend contacting more than one Embassy if your trip is urgent. You may be lucky enough to find an appointment slot that suits you. This may require you to travel a longer distance, but rather do that than not get your visa.
If you're traveling with a family member or a friend, you must schedule individual Schengen Visa appointments. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of only scheduling one appointment. This is a mistake. You must schedule an appointment for each person who needs a Schengen Visa.
There are a few ways you can schedule your Schengen Visa appointment.
The first option is calling the Embassy. This is supposed to be the easiest option. However, remember that you won't always get an appointment slot that you prefer.
You can also opt to schedule an appointment online. Some Embassies have this option available, but not all. I'll use the Consulate of Portugal in New Bedford as an example. You can navigate to the Embassy's official website and schedule an appointment from there. Note that some Embassies don't provide an English translation when scheduling an appointment online.
Another way you can schedule an appointment is via email. However, I don't recommend this as it may take some time to receive feedback from the Embassy.
Applying through another Embassy is also an option. In the case where your Schengen Visa appointment is urgent, and you can't schedule an appointment at your Embassy of choice. You can schedule an appointment at another Embassy. However, this comes with a cost. You need to present a reason why you apply through that Embassy.
Suppose you plan to visit Portugal, but you can't schedule a Schengen Visa appointment soon enough. In that case, you can schedule a visa appointment at the German Embassy. If you decide to do this, you'll need to present some sort of proof of why you chose to apply at the German Embassy. One reason is tourism. You can tell Embassy officials that you plan to visit Germany for tourism first and then travel to Portugal afterward. Remember, if your visa application is successful, you'll need to travel to Germany and spend a few days there before traveling to Portugal.
These are some ways you can schedule your next Schengen Visa Appointment. However, I have found another way that proves to be easier and more straightforward...
Quick note: I wrote this blog not because I was paid or asked. I wrote this blog out of appreciation for the tool that has made travel easier for me. This is my opinion formulated from my personal experience. I don't ask you to believe me, in fact I urge you to try it out for yourself.
Rewind back to my original story. If you can recall, I received my visa but couldn't visit Portugal. Nonetheless, I planned the same trip for the next year. While planning my next trip, I researched the easiest way to schedule a Schengen appointment. Luckily, I came across this article. The article talks about an app called Atlys that approaches travel and visa applications in a new way. It simplifies the entire visa application process and enables users to easily apply for their tourist visas without the added stress and uncertainty. Furthermore, Atlys auto generates documents like accommodation, employment letter's, and flight reservations for you. Meaning you effectively spend less time stressing about collecting all the correct documents. There are also some other benefits that got me really excited...
I decided to download the app to see what it's all about. After downloading the app, I was surprised to see how easy it was to apply for a visa. The application process was very simple. All I really had to do was fill in my information, take a few photos, and attend my visa appointment.
Scheduling a visa appointment was what got me most excited. Scheduling my Schengen Visa appointment to Spain through Atlys was one of the easiest parts.
Atlys automatically generates available appointment slots for you. So, all you need to do is choose an appointment that suits you. Also, the appointment will be scheduled at an Embassy close to you as it uses your location information. So, all I had to do was click on a time slot that suited me. That's all! Scheduling an appointment took literally 5 seconds.
Anyway, after completing the application process through Atlys, I printed out my Schengen Visa application form (which had all my supporting documents attached to it) and traveled to the Embassy to attend my appointment. As simple as that.
Once I had attended my Portugal Schengen Visa appointment, consular service fees and waited for feedback from the Embassy (which was favorable) and traveled to the Embassy to collect my visa. Soon after, I was well on my way to enjoying my long-awaited trip to Portugal.
And that's what you need to know about scheduling your Schengen Visa appointment.
1. Portugal Embassy in Washington, DC
2012 Massachusetts Avenue D.C. 20036 Washington United States
Website URL: http://www.secomunidades.pt/web/washington
2. Portugal Consulate in New Bedford
628, Pleasant St., Room 204 Massachusetts 02740 New Bedford United States
Website URL: http://www.secomunidades.pt/web/newbedford
3. Portugal Consulate in Providence
Hanley Bldg., 56 Pine Street - 6th Floor Rhode Island 02903 2819 Providence United States
Website URL: http://www.secomunidades.pt/web/providence
4. Portugal Consulate in Boston
One Exeter Plaza 699 Boylston St, 7th fl Massachusetts 02116 Boston United States
Website URL: http://www.secomunidades.pt/web/boston
5. Portugal Consulate in Newark
The Legal Center At One Riverfront Plaza, Suite 40 New Jersey 07102 Newark United States
Website URL: http://www.secomunidades.pt/web/newark
6. Portugal Consulate in New York, NY
590, Fifth Avenue, 3rd Floor, NY 10036 New York United States
+1-212-221-3165 +1-212-221-3245 +1-212-221-3295 +1-212-221-3302
Website URL: http://www.secomunidades.pt/web/novaiorque
7. Portugal Consulate in San Francisco, CA
3298, Washington Street CA 94115 San Francisco United States
Website URL: http://www.secomunidades.pt/web/saofrancisco
There are 26 Schengen Countries you can visit with your Schengen Visa/short-stay visa:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.