FAQ for border crossings

Article. 5 §1 of the Visa code (Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) states:

 Article 5

Member State competent for examining and deciding on an application

  1. The Member State competent for examining and deciding on an application for a uniform visa shall be:
  1. the Member State whose territory constitutes the sole destination of the visit(s);
  2. if the visit includes more than one destination, the Member State whose territory constitutes the main destination of the visit(s) in terms of the length or purpose of stay; or
  3. if no main destination can be determined, the Member State whose external border the applicant intends to cross in order to enter the territory of the Member States.

Examples:

  1. You are travelling to Belgium for a family visit of maximum 90 days after which you return to your home country. You must submit your application to the Belgian Consulate or Embassy in your home country or, if Belgium does not have an Embassy/Consulate in your country, to a diplomatic representation of another Schengen State representing Belgium.
     
  2. You wish to visit family members in Belgium and France. If your main residence is in Belgium, you must submit your application to the Belgian Consulate or Embassy in your home country or, if Belgium does not have an Embassy/Consulate in your country , to a diplomatic representation of another Schengen State representing Belgium. Even if you are also planning a short stay in France.
  3. You wish to visit relatives in Belgium, France and Spain. You wish to divide your stay equally between each destination without exceeding the maximum duration of 90 days (30 days in Belgium, 30 days in France and 30 days in Spain). In this case, you should address your visa application to the country where you will make your first entry into the Schengen territory

    In this scenario, if you wish to start your trip in Belgium:  You must submit your application to the Belgian Consulate or Embassy in your home country or, if Belgium does not have an Embassy/Consulate in your country, to a diplomatic representation of another Schengen State representing Belgium.

First consult the PDF document on this website under the section “Visa > Exemples of filled in visa stickers” in particular examples 1a to 1e. There you will find the important distinction between, on the one hand, a uniform Schengen visa (valid for all Schengen Member States) and a Schengen visa with limited territorial validity.

If you have a Schengen visa that is not territorially valid for Belgium, you cannot present yourself with this Schengen visa at the Belgian external border.

If you have a Schengen visa that has been issued by another Schengen Member State while this Schengen visa is also territorially valid for Belgium: you can use this Schengen visa to actually present yourself at the Belgian external border for the Schengen entry check. During this entry check the following verifications will be done:

  • The border guard will verify whether you fulfill the entry conditions for the Schengen area, since the fact that you hold a visa does not guarantee that entry will indeed be granted;
  • You will have to be able to prove that the specific use of the Schengen visa corresponds to the reasons why the other Schengen Member State decided to issue the Schengen visa. The main destination of the trip will therefore have to be in the Member State that issued the Schengen visa. You have to be able to prove this during border control.