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Old 3rd April 2023, 20:03   #556
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Originally Posted by sarba View Post
Yes, you will need to drop off your passport(s), applicable documents and photo at Bangalore VAC only - don't need to travel to Chennai.
However, appointment slots are still given as per load and availability at Chennai. It's a little counter intuitive and had to confirm with our corporate travel agent. But that's apparently how it is, because the processing still happens at Chennai and Bangalore VAC is working as a courier drop off point only.
Hey Sarba, your posts seem God sent for me. I am trying to renew my B1 visa. I have completed all the steps and made the payment as well. I am eligible for Interview Waiver. However, as mentioned by you, I am only getting slots for Chennai VAC. I have booked one slot for next week but then reading your post it seems I can go for Dropbox facility in Bangalore itself. How do I get the appointment for the Dropbox? Is it via VFS site? Or is it a walk -in at the Chennai VAC slot but in Bangalore?

Very much in need of this guidance as the FAQs and Customer care are very confusing regarding Interview Waiver and Dropbox appointments.

PS- Since you are newbie, I am unable to ping you directly.
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Old 3rd April 2023, 21:31   #557
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Originally Posted by drive2eternity View Post

Very much in need of this guidance as the FAQs and Customer care are very confusing regarding Interview Waiver and Dropbox appointments.

PS- Since you are newbie, I am unable to ping you directly.
What you did is correct, appointment booking at Chennai is required even though you do not have to travel to chennai.

Now the documents need to be dropped at the local VFS a few days ahead of the Chennai appointment date because vfs has to ship your passport to Chennai on time for that appointment date. There is no appointment needed to drop your passport to the local vfs. If you are doing this via company, I assume your travel agent would pick it from you and drop at local vfs.
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Old 3rd April 2023, 21:41   #558
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Originally Posted by drive2eternity View Post
Hey Sarba, your posts seem God sent for me. I am trying to renew my B1 visa. I have completed all the steps and made the payment as well. I am eligible for Interview Waiver. However, as mentioned by you, I am only getting slots for Chennai VAC. I have booked one slot for next week but then reading your post it seems I can go for Dropbox facility in Bangalore itself. How do I get the appointment for the Dropbox? Is it via VFS site? Or is it a walk -in at the Chennai VAC slot but in Bangalore?
I see balenoed_ has already replied to you.

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Originally Posted by drive2eternity View Post
Very much in need of this guidance as the FAQs and Customer care are very confusing regarding Interview Waiver and Dropbox appointments.
Absolutely agree, not sure why this aspect of the interview waiver process is not clearly spelt out. It is a bit confusing. All the best with your application
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Old 1st May 2023, 01:18   #559
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Originally Posted by shivkumar19 View Post
Applied for a B1/B2 tourist US visa for My son, Wife, and Myself, through an agent. Got the dates for April 20/2025 in Chennai. We informed the agent to keep an eye on any early opening at any location. Last month got a slot for Jan 30/2023. Biometric was on the 29th and the interview was on the 30th. The consulate spoke to all three of us for 5 mins and took our passports and said Welcome to the USA. The passports were received through courier yesterday with a 10-year VISA seal.
Hi Shivkumar,
I have booked the B2 tourist slots for month of October 2023, i need slots dates for the month of May, can you please give the agent number, will contact him.

Thanks,
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Old 13th May 2023, 12:58   #560
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

I would be travelling to Orlando, USA for 3 days in second week of June on business. On return leg I would need to change airport from Gatwick to Heathrow. Would I need a "Visitor in transit Visa" or I can transit without a Visa?


https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa/y/i...where_else/yes

"You may be eligible to transit without a visa if:

you arrive and depart by air
have a confirmed onward flight that leaves on the day you arrive or before midnight on the day after you arrive
have the right documents for your destination (eg a visa for that country)

One of the following must also apply:

youíre travelling from (or on part of a reasonable journey from) Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the USA and have a valid visa for that country
"

Also, is 3:55 hours a reasonable time for travelling from Gatwick to Heathrow? Gatwick 6:20 AM and Heathrow 10:15 AM? Not sure if baggage collection at Gatwick and baggae checkin at Heathrow would be needed.

Please advise.
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Old 17th May 2023, 11:13   #561
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Can you please let know what is the guideline for biometric interview for Schengen visa now?

Earlier when I travelled, I had to visit the consulate during the first trip.

Nowadays also does one need to visit consulate or this can be done via VFS?
Listing out the agony of Schengen visa application (Austria)

Background -

Mother, brother, Uncle and aunt were planning on a 2 weeks Europe trip. The trip was to cover 4 countries in Schengen region, since first port of entry and maximum days was in Austria, decided to apply for Austrian visa.

All 4 of them have visited multiple countries, however none of them had prior visit to any Schengen visa countries. Hence they had to get their biometrics also updated along with applying for visa in person.

Apart from my brother, who is currently working (leave approval letter, ITR for 3 years, salary account statement), all others are pensioners and have submitted bank account statement + pension book copy.

Travel date- 17 May


Visa application:

4th week of Feb


Hotels, flight, self drive car booked. Was checking for slot in VFS site, after checking for few days, noticed that slots are easily available in Goa & Pondicherry, but for Bangalore, Cochin, Chennai etc, it was coming and disappearing immediately. Not sure if its an issue with the site or if slots getting booked.

Mid of March
Got slot for 10th and 11th April at Bangalore, in group of 2. That's, mom and brother got for 10th and uncle aunt for for 11th.


April 10, 11

Bio metrics capture and document submissions done. Tentative processing time mentioned as 15 days to 1 month.


April 22

Uncle and aunt get the passport couriered to their address with Visa. No update on the remaining 2 passports.


April 27
Mom and brother receive mail from VFS that they have received a letter from embassy, the content of the letter is known to them. Online status still shows as processing.

They ask to collect the letter next day morning since past afternoon, they don't do any customer interaction.

April 28
Brother collects the letter to him and also mom from VFS. The envelope has passport and also a rejection letter. The same has different items which is selected based on the reason for rejection.

In their case, it was mentioned that they find a risk that they will overstay after visa expiry.

VFS suggests instead of giving appeal on the reason for rejection (since it will take around 30 days), it will be better to mail embassy with a reason on why to reconsider, that is supposed to be answered within 48 hours by them.

Based on that mailed to embassy on the same date.


May 3

No reply from embassy, so brother called them up, they mentioned the mail reply happens in a weeks time and not 48 hours. But since the travel date is nearing, to send a reminder mail on top for quicker reply.


May 9

Still no reply to the mail / reminder. Since travel date (17May) is near, decide to cancel the bookings to salvage what all refunds are available, since even if we get a positive reply from embassy, there is no time for getting passport send to Delhi and returned through VFS.

May 16

VFS communicates that they have received a mail from embassy. Asks to come and collect the same in person, as earlier, content of mail not known to them.

On collecting the same, notice that its the reply to the Email send on April 28th, mentioning that the visa was rejected earlier due to the same reason mentioned in earlier communication from them. In short, no luck.


Some annoying observations
1. Strangely, neither VFS or embassy mention the status anywhere online. As in, we had to both times collect the envelope from VFS and check what is the reply. The issue with this is, there is a delay of around 4 days (Day 1, embassy sends to VFS Delhi, Day 2 - VFS Delhi sends to VFS Bangalore, Day 3 or 4, based on the time they communicate, we can go and collect the document)

With the already tight schedule thanks to unavailability of appointment, this becomes an issue.


2. All bookings were done by brother in his name and had added remaining 3 as co travelers. Still, strangely 2 (uncle, aunt) visa got approved and 2(mom and brother) got rejected.

It would have been understandable if rejection happened other way around. But not sure what logic they took to approve 2 visas, when the person in whose name all the bookings were was rejected visa.

3. If number of days is not an issue, VFS suggests to apply freshly ( need to pay again) past rejection, instead of appealing (which is free) mentioning new application has better chance of approval. Not sure of the truth and logic in the same.


Eventually, they decided not to try again and dropped the Europe trip plan.
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Old 17th May 2023, 12:08   #562
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Listing out the agony of Schengen visa application (Austria)


3. If number of days is not an issue, VFS suggests to apply freshly ( need to pay again) past rejection, instead of appealing (which is free) mentioning new application has better chance of approval. Not sure of the truth and logic in the same.
A similar thing happened to me in 2019. It was a friend's trip and two of us had our Schengen visas rejected. Both of us had prior travel experience whereas the guy who had no prior travel history got the visa. But instead of canceling the trip, we applied again within a week of the travel. The VFS staff were skeptical, but we asked them to go ahead and also attached a copy of our US visas. Everything else remained the same and luckily we both go the visas just in time for the travel. So there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the rejections.
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Old 17th May 2023, 12:24   #563
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
Ö
In their case, it was mentioned that they find a risk that they will overstay after visa expiry.
Ö
Sorry to hear about your ordeal.

Did they not mention why they think the applicants will overstay? Whether itís due to lack of ties back home or financial reasons? Asking since the subsequent application can address those concerns by providing more documentation.
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Old 17th May 2023, 12:37   #564
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Did they not mention why they think the applicants will overstay? .
There was no clarity on what was the reason for arriving at that conclusion. The reason for rejection comes in a letter, where there are multiple reasons mentioned. The reason for your rejection is ticked in that list.

As in financial reasons, my mom whose visa got rejected had the most balance in her bank statement and also the amount was there much before 6 months period when statement is taken of. Also, pension amount gets credited to the same account.

Another probability was that they can arrive at a conclusion that brother and mother may try to migrate to EUR past this. To overcome this, when we had send a request to reconsider, had mentioned the list of countries the same group has traveled before. Also, Austria would have been the 6th country they will be visiting on the same passport.

So overall, the reason for assessment is bit unsure.
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Old 17th May 2023, 17:12   #565
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Eventually, they decided not to try again and dropped the Europe trip plan.
Did all four drop the trip or only your brother and mother? I ask because all the reservations were done in your brother's name. Had your uncle and aunt proceeded with the trip, there would have more hassles I guess.

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Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
As in financial reasons, my mom whose visa got rejected had the most balance in her bank statement and also the amount was there much before 6 months period when statement is taken of. Also, pension amount gets credited to the same account.
Curious to know what financial statements are required for people who have retired from a non-pensionable job?

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Originally Posted by mpksuhas View Post
So overall, the reason for assessment is bit unsure.
With lot of refugees and immigration going on in Europe, maybe they are discouraging tourists?
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Old 17th May 2023, 17:50   #566
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Did all four drop the trip or only your brother and mother?
All 4 of them dropped. Since the plan was to rent car and have a road trip, it became bit of an issue with just uncle and aunt getting visa.

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Curious to know what financial statements are required for people who have retired from a non-pensionable job?
Even I wonder, there is no specific mention on that. As in, the mention is, if salaried so and so documents, if having own business, so and so documents and if retired, pension related document. No mention of those who are retired and not having pension. I am assuming, just showing net worth should do. Since their concern is only about you taking up your expense and not staying back there.

Quote:
With lot of refugees and immigration going on in Europe, maybe they are discouraging tourists?
I am assuming they are bit picky when family members are going. As in, in this case, the assumption may be that my brother who is around 30 years old and unmarried may be considered with a higher risk of not returning after visa expiry since he can search for a job there and stay back comparatively easily.

Similarly, a family friend (senior citizen, widowed) got her visa rejected for Italy when they had applied to visit her son who is on work permit there. In that case also it was mentioned that she was considered with risk of not returning past visa duration. So guess they were worried that she may stay back with son who may eventually migrate to any country in EUR.
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Old 17th May 2023, 18:29   #567
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Originally Posted by AltoLXI View Post

Curious to know what financial statements are required for people who have retired from a non-pensionable job?
?
While applying for retired senior citizens, please apply with long term FD receipts and more importantly property documents for Schengen visa. Bank balance doesn't matter as you can easily use it up after getting visa. Covering letter should be strong with why want to travel (add a purpose like a special occasion of anniversary, childhood dream of Alps, etc) and also why you will come back about your interests back home, you need to take care of grand children or family farm, properties etc. They read each and every word in the covering letter.

This is how we got our in laws Schengen tourist visa with a freshly minted passport with no travel history 4 years ago. Now, with their son working there, they got 2 years multiple entry visa in a jiffy.
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Old 19th May 2023, 08:21   #568
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

I feel saddened reading these experiences of people being denied Schengen visas for no logical reason. This has always been an issue with schengen visas even fifteen years ago in my service days when the demands of these embassies and their agents (VFS) seemed to suggest that a serving military officer with 25 years commissioned service was a serious overstay risk, had doubtful income and had to produce a few boxes of supporting documents to justify getting a 15 or 30 day visa.

I can only conclude the following:

- These Schengen countries do have a hidden policy of discouraging tourists from India (amongst other 'undesirable' countries). These denials are just a manifestation of that.

- The visa officers are very junior and utterly inexperienced (this is partly true, I have it on good authority that the newest and junior most officers are assigned this job).

- The VFS staff are largely uneducated and fail to apply their mind.

We as Indians should see this writing on the wall and avoid Europe/UK as a tourist destination. There are plenty of other countries where we do not have to lost our dignity to get a visa or waste hours to submit meaningless documents.

I wish the Indian government force these Europeans to come to our embassies to apply for a visa when they want to visit India (instead of giving them an e-visa facility). I am sure then they would get a real taste of bureaucracy and unreasonableness to rival their own - and learn to respect the value of others time.
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Old 19th May 2023, 10:29   #569
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Originally Posted by J2022 View Post
We as Indians should see this writing on the wall and avoid Europe/UK as a tourist destination. There are plenty of other countries where we do not have to lost our dignity to get a visa or waste hours to submit meaningless documents.

I wish the Indian government force these Europeans to come to our embassies to apply for a visa when they want to visit India (instead of giving them an e-visa facility). I am sure then they would get a real taste of bureaucracy and unreasonableness to rival their own - and learn to respect the value of others time.
+1 to this. Sad thing is though we have all the beautiful places which can exceed those that in the west in terms of beauty, we still hanker visiting west at least once in our lifetime. When the middle east is developing the deserts into tourist destinations, what stops our government from developing Rajasthan, North east, HP, UK as tourist destinations?

Last edited by AltoLXI : 19th May 2023 at 10:33.
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Old 19th May 2023, 11:57   #570
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Re: Advice for Visas & Interviews

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Originally Posted by J2022 View Post
I feel saddened reading these experiences of people being denied Schengen visas for no logical reason.

I can only conclude the following:

- These Schengen countries do have a hidden policy of discouraging tourists from India (amongst other 'undesirable' countries). These denials are just a manifestation of that.

We as Indians should see this writing on the wall and avoid Europe/UK as a tourist destination. There are plenty of other countries where we do not have to lost our dignity to get a visa or waste hours to submit meaningless documents.
I agree it is sad but we also have to realize that we Indians are also not always well-behaved tourists. Whether we like it or not, there is no denying that we go in big numbers, don't respect the local culture, are loud, cheap, etc. So it is not surprising that outsiders form a negative opinion about us.

Even in SE Asia, there is a marked difference between how a local shop owner treats an Indian vs someone local or from the West. The only reason why we get an easy visa there is that they need our money, while the Europeans, not so much.

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Originally Posted by thanixravindran View Post
While applying for retired senior citizens, please apply with long term FD receipts and more importantly property documents for Schengen visa.
What I have observed is that if you apply through a travel agent the chances of rejection are lesser. Maybe they know something we don't? Our company got a series of B1 rejections. Changed to a well-known travel agent and the next set of applications were successful.

Similarly, a junior colleague, single, with no travel experience, and no property to his name, got the Schengen visa by going via an agent. The agent even got him a fake hotel and flight reservation and made him transfer some funds from his dad's account to show enough bank balance.

Last edited by Jaguar : 19th May 2023 at 11:59.
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