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BANGKOK 14 November 2018 14:16
Jaffacake

Thai national applying for UK & Schengen tourist VISA

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Hi guys,

 

I've read many threads on here and other websites which give a lot of conflicting information on the above topic, so i'm looking for a bit of advice based on first hand experience if  possible. 

 

I am a British national and have been living and working in Thailand for the past 2 years, with all the right business VISA's and work permit for the duration. I am looking to go on holiday next year to the UK and Europe and want to take my girlfriend with me. We have been together for 18 months, she has a regular job and will be able to satisfy all requirements I've read are required for the relevant visitor VISA's for both UK and Schengen (Full time job, sufficient savings to support her for the trip, letter from company authorising her leave and job upon return etc).

 

The area i'm getting a lot of conflicting information is on the proof of return flight / travel itinerary. Some places are saying you need a confirmed flight before applying, other places saying don't book anything until you have the VISA's approved. I've also seen the online services which can allegedly reserve you flight bookings for a small price (again mixed reviews on these).

 

Does anyone have any first hand experience and advice in this area? I don't really want to pay close to 100k for both our flights should she get denied a visa 

 

Also, would it be recommended to apply for the UK VISA first, then Schengen or vise versa? Or can you can do it at the same time? We are planning on flying from Bangkok to the UK, spending a week or 10 days there visiting family before doing a couple of stops off in Europe on the way back (Spain and Italy).

 

Any advice would be much appreciated

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She certainly doesn't need a confirmed flight when applying for her UK Visa, they specifically advise against purchasing one before the visa is issued.

 

Most Consulates in the Schengen area require a round ticket from Thailand, some will only ask for a ticket to or from any third country, the UK for instance, some will ask for both.

 

If you are visiting a third country, again the UK for instance, they will require that you obtain that visa first.

 

The pinned topic at the head of the page, drafted by Donutz, our Schengen guru, and I've attached a copy of the required documents from the French Visa Section for your information Required docs - French Schengen Visa.

 

My wife, girlfriend as was, has always obtained her UK Visa first, for the UK you only have to supply an indicative itinerary, once that's in the bag, or rather her passport, she applies for her appropriate Schengen Visa, which requires flight tickets, accomodation, travel insurance and proof of afforadability, that has always worked for her.

 

 

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Many thanks for your reply.

 

The UK VISA i'm less worried about to be honest, as you mentioned there's no confirmation of flight there and I'm a UK national and will have a letter from my family advising that we will be staying with them for our duration there. 

 

What i'm more worried about is the Schengen one. 

 

Our planned route is BKK => UK => Spain => Italy => BKK and the flights are going to be booked in one booking.

 

I was hoping to get the flights booked soon but I understand that you can only apply up to 3 months before the VISA application? Is this true of both UK and Schengen?

 

Would you suggest waiting to get the UK visa confirmed before booking the flights, and then applying for Schengen? My worry here is if the Schengen VISA was rejected the whole trip would be up the spout as our flights back to BKK would be from Rome. 

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14 minutes ago, Jaffacake said:

Would you suggest waiting to get the UK visa confirmed before booking the flights, and then applying for Schengen? My worry here is if the Schengen VISA was rejected the whole trip would be up the spout as our flights back to BKK would be from Rome. 

The advice from the UKVI is that flights shouldn't be booked before the visa is issued, it depends how confident you are, to be frank we've always book flights before the visa has been issued, it's of course a gamble but it's one we've always taken and it's never backfired.

 

You're probably aware that your girlfriend has to apply via the Consulate with juridstiction for the Schengen State where she plans to spend most time, if she's going to spend about the same amount of time in more than one State, then she has to apply via the Consulate with Juristiction for the Member State where she enters the Schengen area.

 

Again we've always purchased round trip tickets well in advance and have never had a real problem. With the amount of evidence that is required for Schengen, and what you describe it really shouldn't be a problem, but there's always a chance there could be one, but with a UK Visa in hand I doubt it.

 

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Thanks again for your reply, it was the first hand experience I was hoping to hear. 

 

I guess it's weighing up the gamble of booking the flights before applying for the VISA or waiting until after. 

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19 hours ago, theoldgit said:

Most Consulates in the Schengen area require a round ticket from Thailand, some will only ask for a ticket to or from any third country, the UK for instance, some will ask for both.

The Schengen rules require a round trip reservation. Usually to and from the country of origin but the embassy may accept alternatives.  To quote the Schengen Code on Visa rulebook :

 

----

B.

DOCUMENTATION ALLOWING FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF THE APPLICANT’S INTENTION TO LEAVE THE TERRITORY OF THE MEMBER STATES

1.

reservation of or return or round ticket;

2.

proof of financial means (...)

---

 

Spain is a bit notorious for being difficult though. Especially when it comes to the free, expidited 'minimum hassle&paperwork' visa for direct familiemembers of EU/EEA nationals (such as Britons and their Thai spouse visiting an other EU country who technically won't need to show onward ticket reservations, proof of sufficient  financial means, reasons to return etc).

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12 minutes ago, Donutz said:

The Schengen rules require a round trip reservation. Usually to and from the country of origin but the embassy may accept alternatives.  To quote the Schengen Code on Visa rulebook :

 

----

B.

DOCUMENTATION ALLOWING FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF THE APPLICANT’S INTENTION TO LEAVE THE TERRITORY OF THE MEMBER STATES

1.

reservation of or return or round ticket;

2.

proof of financial means (...)

---

 

Spain is a bit notorious for being difficult though. Especially when it comes to the free, expidited 'minimum hassle&paperwork' visa for direct familiemembers of EU/EEA nationals (such as Britons and their Thai spouse visiting an other EU country who technically won't need to show onward ticket reservations, proof of sufficient  financial means, reasons to return etc).

 

This is the part that is concerning me as our flights will not technically be a round trip from Thailand. 

 

Our route will be BKK => UK => Spain => Italy => BKK

 

Can you foresee this being problematic when applying in Spain? 

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Any normal embassy would accept this but I can't tell for sure if Spain would.  I would think that with a UK visa plus a ticket (reservation!) TH-UK-ES-I-TH you should be fine, I would like to think with the more notorious Spaniards too. 

 

Would you set the main destination to say The Netherlands you would be 100% in the clear since durable relations akin to marriage should also eligible* for a visa issued under freedom of movement rules (directive 2004/38). The visa would be free, without requirement for a ticket reservation,  financial means etc. 

 

But if you prefer warmer countries, consider making Italy the main destination so you can apply via them even if Spain will be the Schengen country you enter first. If Spain remains the main destination: I would guess that they probably would accept the ticket reservation as described by you. But unfortunately no 100% guarantee.  I'd say not accepting this would be unlikely, especially with a UK visa already in the pocket that would make it clear that a round trip isn't really an option. 

 

*this is part of freedom of movement,  but what equals a relation akin to marriage us up to the member state.  The Dutch are fine with 6+ months cohabitation but some embassies seem to not really know what equals a marriage except for an actual marriage.

 

Edited by Donutz

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Thanks Donutz, this is very helpful. 

 

How would one prove that we have been cohabiting for over 6 months? It's just my name on our tenancy agreement as she wasn't living with me full time when I took out the contract. Do you think it would be possible to backdate the tenancy agreement with her name on it too?


Our plan was to spend an equal amount of time in both Spain and Italy, and i was under the impression in that instance you need to apply in the country you will arrive into the Schengen zone (Spain). I might try and jig dates and flights around 

 

The Netherlands is also a possibility, I was just favouring Barcelona as I haven't been there before but have spent a lot of time in the Netherlands. For my GF though, she hasn't been so i'm sure she wouldn't mind.  

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