lets start! so my first step in Europe was in Italy! long short story, march 2015 there was a workshop and i applied through the italian consulate in erbil along with some colleagues! magic i got it! 2 weeks italian national visa! during the trip i visited the smallest country in the world too, vatican! its located inside rome!
but as we were at milano train station, when we saw paris name on the train screen, we couldnt resist! risked our way and took the train to paris! long short story we visited paris for a day trip hahahah because if we stayed in a hotel they would figure out we didnt have proper french or schengen visa! oh i forgot to tell, while arriving in paris once we left the train, the french security were stopping random passengers for checking their visa hahahhaah and i passed safely hahahah
later in winter 2016 i applied for tourist visa from the polish embassy along with my friends, and magic! i got 30 days single entry schengen visa! i was going crazy from happiness!
so i traveled for so much europian countries, a city per country hahahhahaha i used my full 30 days! hahahaha it was so funny i arrived at the early hours of my visa validation and later left from greece on my last hours of my visa validation!
later in winter 2016 i applied for medical visa through the german consulate in erbil to accompany a beloved one for a serious medical issue! i got 1 month multi schengen visa, and later there i extended it for another month.
early 2017 i got 6 months german multi schengen visa! i was getting trusted!
follow rules and then you will get longer visa periods.
but in late 2017 when my german visa got expired, i applied to the french schengen visa in their consulate in erbil! but i got rejected! weird!
later in 2019 i applied again for french schengen tourist visa, i got it! 6 months multi schengen visa! i was super happy that finally the length of schengen validation became long so i can use it to travel cheaper.
Remember with Single entry Schengen Visa you can travel to 27 europian countries without problem!
Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Andorra, Sweden and Switzerland have all acceded to the Schengen Agreement and are thus Schengen states. out of 27, i visited 26 countries last one is Malta!
if you get Multi schengen visa, then beside those 27 countries you can also use it to visit Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus! out of those 10, i visited 8 of them so far, Romania and cyprus remain!
other europian countries which not covered by the privilage of multi schengen visa are Belarus, Ukraine , Moldova, ireland and United Kingdom! out of those countries i visited only belarus!
national and Schengen Visa
iraqi citizens can apply for tourism visas for most europian countries either directly through their embassies/consulates or through VFS global centers in Erbil and Baghdad, kindly check with the embassy/consulate first to see you are eligible for which one.
most europian countries embassies/consulates have an agreement with VFS to apply for visa.
for tourism visas including Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine while for business visa Netherland and Austria!
first, you have to make an appointment on VFS website, and pay service fee(its different than the visa fee which you will pay on the visa interview day)!
Unfortunately I tried to reserve the appointment online by myself, but it was unavailable.
nowadays its indirectly controlled by some agents so we have to make the appointment through them!
then on your interview day you have to take all your documents and go by yourself! actually there is no interview, just local employees take your papers. they are really professionals and with good communication skills.
National visa is only valid for the country which provided you with the visa
while schengen visa is valid for all European countries which are part of the schengen zone
The 27 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
with single schengen entry visa you can access to above countries plus Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City
while if you get multi schengen visa, then in addition to above, you can visit below countries too, remember the schengen visa should be valid used multi schengen visa.
Romania, Bulgaria and Cypres
Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia
kindly check the official VFS website for up to date information:
global contact: www.vfsglobal.com/en/individuals/contact.html
VFS Global Erbil office(for residence of Kurdistan):
web site (germany section): visa.vfsglobal.com/irq/en/deu/attend-centre/erbil
website (france section): visa.vfsglobal.com/irq/en/fra
mobile: 0751 012 6287
address: entrance of Ainkawa Street, opposite to abu shahab city restaurant!
VFS GLOBAL BAGHDAD OFFICE:
Mobile: 0781 370 3233
address: Al-Yarmuk Qr., 4th Street, Jordan Intersection
Czechia Consulate in Erbil:
address: Ankawa, Kareez 15, Str. 74, House 12
Tel: +964 (0) 66 225 3948, +964 751 234 2264
Czechia Embassy in Baghdad:
address: Al Mansour, Al Amirat St., Sector 601 – Street 11 – House 37
Poland Consulate in Erbil:
address: Khanzad, Iraq, American Village, corner of Texas and Hawai St., 250
tel: +964 750 163 72 36
Poland embassy in Baghdad:
address: international Zone
1. apply for national or Schengen Tourist visa only if you have good travel history!
travel to couple countries before trying your luck!
remember the world is full of beautiful countries, dont make traveling to europe as your priority! its an organized region, you can travel there later!
2. open a bank account as early as possible, so you can have a proper bank statement for over 6 months! its not about the amount, but how you save/spend money.
guys this is the most annoying part, since our banking system in iraq is realy not good, so saving in the bank is risky hahaha imagine bankrupt! bye bye to your money.
since we are a cash nation, so most people save their money at home hahhaa not in the bank.
lets get back on the track, so you have to trust one of the banks and start make a long term saving
put part of your salary in the bank each month around the same time (you can ask the bank to save this one under salary saving)
then make sure to withdraw money and spend some so latter on it will show that its circulating
Nowadays beside online shopping, some shops and commercial places started to use POS, so I am trying to pay with my card instead of cash, pay with card at the restaurant, cinema, mall or petrol station, whenever u have the chance ask to pay with card. this is really helpful in money circulating and later on when you get a bank statment for 6 months, the embassy visa officer will see that you put salary on your bank each month, and also spending part of it. this make trust that its not a fake bank statement.
Unfortunately many of my people are misusing and do fake accounts this act affect all of us so hopefully those ignorant people stop playing around.
slowly slowly you will see that you make a proper bank statment, just be truthful everything will be fine.
oh just make sure to not deposit large amounts of money on ur account, this automatically will make ur account not trusted and ur visa get refused.
Travel experience in Schengen zone
its better to fly in/out from the country which you got your visa! it will be less headache regarding questioning, and better for your future travels to get trusted by that embassy to give longer periods of visas!
remember, a visa is not a guarantee to enter the schengen zone, its the final decision of the immigration officer!
1. work support letter, including salary, full name. passport number, position.
2. colorful copy of passport bio page and former Schengen visas (if available, with entry/exit stamp)
3. bank statement letter for the past 6 months (or 3 months, depends on the embassy).
4. initial bookings of flight tickets and accommodation.
5. travel insurance.
6. national IDs for the whole family (translated and notarized)
7. Property and car ownership documents if available (translated ¬arized)! remember to take the original documents with you, they will check it and handed back to you.
8. filled Schengen Visa Application.
9. two ID phots, 45mm x 35mm.
10. for Kurdistan residents should apply through VFS erbil, while resident of other cities should apply through VFS Baghdad.
11. for under age (less than 18 years old), they should get their parents permission, written, translated and notarized by court and Kurdistan department of foreign affairs (krdistan) while Ministry of foreign affairs for Baghdad and beyond residents.
12. an invitation letter is extra plus! but for tourist visa no need.
13. vaccination certificate.
14. Information card (in kurdish - karti zanyari) family residence card (in arabic - bitaqat sakan)
15. Travel Plan