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Hi, this is my first post here and I need some advice.

I find myself in a rather peculiar situation. I work for an airline and travel fairly frequently with my family. I have travelled to the Schengen territory a total of 5 times since 2005 and 2 times within the last year alone. I've never had trouble getting a visa, in fact when went to France, we all received a 6 month multiple entry last year.

This year, I applied for a visa to Austria. I applied via VFS, which has a reputation for being dishonest with their scheduling, often times not allowing you to book an appointment for weeks and forcing you to go for their premium service, which is more expensive. Anyway, sometime mid August of this year, I got an appointment for September 12 for submitting our documents and collecting fingerprints. We were able to submit without any issues (even the counter lady commented on how everything was in order) and were told it would take approximately 2 weeks to get a response. As of today, 8th October, it has been over 3.5 weeks and we have not heard anything. I obviously contacted VFS and they said the applications were sent to the Austrian embassy the same day itself (12th September) and when we contacted the Austrian embassy they said the decision was still not taken. I have a flight to Vienna on the 12th of October and if I dont get the visa by 10th, there is no way I can travel (rescheduling is out of the question, flights are full etc.).

The really strange thing is, my sister in law got her visa in exactly 2 weeks. We applied as a family (me, my wife, our 2.5 year old son, my brother and his wife). My sister in law however is Indian, but not a primary applicant, she is sponsored by my brother. The rest of us are Pakistani and my brother has already travelled to Switzerland once before (in 2011).

I am puzzled by why it has taken almost a month for something that typically requires 2, or at the most, 3 weeks. Even the VFS site says this, so does everyone I spoke to. If they don't want to give us the visa, they could have made a decision in 2-3 weeks. What is holding them up? They still have our passports and refuse to give us a proper response. With the long Eid holidays coming up, I don't know when I will get my passport back. At this point, I don't even want to travel. I just want to cancel everything, but get my passport back. Is this right for them to keep my passport indefinitely? Can they do this? I only applied for a short stay visa (10 days) so why can't they make a go/no-go decision. Has anyone else ever faced this with their Schengen application, especially to Austria? Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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This reply is quite late in the day and not of much help I am afraid. VFS are merely a handling agent and have no say in whether the visa is issued or not. Their job is to relieve the consular officers the administrative burden of ensuring the paper work and other requirements are correct.

The consulate then scans the passport and other documents and this gets sent to the central authority who then distribute it to the member states for approval. I am afraid to say that the time is very much dependent on the Nationality of the applicant and I have heard that it can take up to 6 weeks, depending on how busy the system is. Having said that, this isn't the busy European season so it does seem to be a little unreasonable.

I have no idea what the situation is with the Austrian embassy, I know some consulates are more responsive that others, but have you tried to contact their consular section directly? Equally, you are theoretically VFS' client - surely they can give you more information than that?
 

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Schengen visas are usually given in 2-3 weeks. However, sometimes it does take up to 22 working days (30 normal days) to get the visa. I don't think there's much you can do about it honestly. VFS can't and won't do anything about this. Trying calling the embassy and request to expedite the process somehow.
 

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I've never had an issue with VFS or scheduling anything. However, from my experience, the least headache inducing embassy for a Schengen visa is Germany followed by Italy. Perhaps call the embassy to find out what the delay is.
 

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They don't do their job

I asked for a visa 23 days ago from the same Austrian embassy.
I got an email after about 10 days to resubmit some of the documents this time through email to them .
Again after another 10 days I was asked this time in German to resubmit the same, and explain my reason to visit " in German"
I was going to visit my brother who had had an heart attack and in hospital by then.
I had travelled to Europe, United Kingdom and Canada in the last 3 years.
So , i wondered,
Anyways , I had to cancel my plans because by today after 23 days of applying , which is my flight, the visa is not issued.
The part that you should hear is:
I was told by the embassy in Abu Dhabi , that my papers submitted first time was lost,
They have not received my documents in english or german in the second and third time I sent them , because" their inbox has been full"
And then , one day before the flight they called me to go over to Abu Dhabi and resubmit for the forth time personally.
How civilised is that?
C
 

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Schengen visa to Austria

same here happened to me - 42 days and counting. The embassy had asked me that my travel plans has expired and that i'm unbelievable. Very funny. i dont have plans of travelling in the past and i dont have a mission in the past except that, i suppose not to have processed my application via VFS. I demand a refund from VFS for a poor system tracking for all applicants with the travel dates already.

There is no harm if visa is denied, you can change plans instead, but its the passport being held for a long time and no result or outcome, they definitely has taken over your personal plans! and put everything on hold!

By the way - i got my first visa for this country just in 5 working days. Im not sure, why its not as fast the 2nd time around? i thought it should be sweeter the 2nd time around?!
 
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