I have a business trip to Amsterdam in May and since I have only one nationality which is â€œLebaneseâ€, I have to go through the whole visa application process. Iâ€™ve lived in Dubai for 2 years where I applied for many schengen visas from different embassies (german, Swiss, etcâ€¦) and I started having my visa extended to,I think, 1 year utmost but since I came back again to Lebanon and canceled my Dubai residence visa, the consulates in Leb disregarded my previous visas if they were issued from a different country, so that was my first shock when I came back. In JAN 2010, I had to go to Amsterdam (on a business trip) and my Lebanese friends kept telling me:
â€œ l safara l elmaniye a7san men l hollandiye w ahyan, rou7e addme 3endon w ba3den fike trou7e wein ma baddik w ma32oul ya3touke yeha for 3 monthsâ€ so I went for itâ€¦and guess what , they gave it to me for 2 weeks only!”
Today again, I had to apply for a schengen visa since I am going to Amsterdam in May and I said to myself, letâ€™s not play it the Lebanese way and I will apply legally at the same embassy even though Iâ€™ve heard that they are very strict and tough. After preparing a deck of documents (which took me almost 2 weeks to request), and of course after taking an appointment, I drove today all the way from Seheile to Sofil and passed through all kinds of Monday morning traffic. It was a hell of an experience!!
1- No place to park (and then the policeman came and told me: soffe honik w sakkre 3al parking la2anno ba3ed ma fata7 )
2- The security in the building checked all my papers and told me that I have to pay in L.L and that no one can exchange my dollarsâ€¦so I went out to an ATM machine and withdrew L.L
3- He took my bag and phones and I went up to the 9th floor where this lady took all my papers and started asking me all kind of questions (which, honestly, made me a bit nervous) (things like: why last time you went to Amsterdam you didnâ€™t apply from our embassy and what do you exactly have thereâ€¦.)
4- She noticed that one paper is missing so she asked me to bring it back, she also wanted me to pay 121,500L.L and I had 125000L.L and since she didnâ€™t have change for 5000 L.L , she sent me back to the bank to get change for the 5000LL (and I waited 15 minutes in the queue)
5- After struggling with the documents and papers I went back to the office in sin el fil and passed through the traffic again (I reached at 11h30am) and then I sent a colleague at work to drop her the missing document: the register circular
6- In the afternoon she called me back saying that on one of the documents, the person who signed (which was my boss) is not the same person as the one of the register circular so I have to again pass by and drop her the letter signed by the eligible person!
Even writing all this now, frustrates me again as this is really unfair for a Lebanese to go through all these procedures and especially that I had many schengen visas before (from Dubai, which was so much easier to apply for). After all, we always say: proud to be Lebanese but if you really think about these frustrating things, I sometime think, what are we proud about?