• Schengen Area – Processing Delays Expected at Schengen Area Consulates
  • July 4, 2017
  • Seasonal increase in travel from the United States to the Schengen Area countries has led to extended wait times for visa appointments. Foreign nationals requiring a Schengen Visit Visa should schedule their appointments as soon as possible if they plan to travel to the Schengen Area countries during the summer 2017. Wait times at certain consulates of Schengen Area countries in the United States can be up to three months, without an option for expedited processing or emergency appointments.

    Background

    Consulates of Schengen Area countries in the United States typically experience a significant increase in visa requests for summer months. This usually leads to a reduced availability of visa appointments and extended processing times.

    Visa Applications and Appointments

    Foreign nationals are required to appear in person to submit visa applications. For most Schengen consulates, applicants must create a personal profile and schedule their appointments through an online appointment system. Further, as most consulates strictly enforce jurisdiction rules, applicants must schedule their appointments at the relevant consulate, based on their U.S. state of residence and the visiting country. Walk-in applicants are not accepted.

    In certain locations, Schengen Visit Visa applicants who have given biometrics (fingerprints) to a Schengen consulate within the past 59 months may be able to apply by mail. As consulates do not always publish this concession, qualifying foreign nationals may email or call the respective consulate to request permission to apply by mail on the basis that their biometrics are already in the system.

    Fragomen can assist with the preparation of Schengen Visit Visa applications, but cannot book an appointment on the applicant's behalf in most cases. Applicants must create a personal profile and independently schedule their appointments online.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    Employers should consider their potential need for Schengen Visit Visas over the summer months in 2017 and initiate cases as early as possible. Where visa appointments are not available by the desired date, foreign nationals will be required to reschedule their travel accordingly or monitor the online appointment system for any cancellations.