GNBCC announcement on Visa applications for business travel to the Netherlands

21-10-2022

GNBCC announcement on Visa applications for business travel to the Netherlands

Dear GNBCC Member,

Since the spring of this year the process to obtain a Schengen VISA for business travel to the Netherlands has been cumbersome. We already published in May how to get an appointment through the VFS website, how to get an earlier appointment, when to approach us or the Embassy for assistance . Please see https://www.gnbcc.net/News/Item/5747

After the appointment at VFS your passport and documents are send to the Hague in the Netherlands – since a few years the actual issuing of visa has been outsourced from the Embassy in Accra to the Ministry in the Netherlands. Note this is not only the case for VISA applications from Ghana but for a number of other countries outside the EU.

Due to Covid, Brexit and a shortage of staff a backlog has been created at the VISA processing department at the Ministry in the Netherlands. A direct result is that VFS issues per day less appointment slots – hence the problems to make an online appointment (best to try at night as from 2 am)

In the May article we published that there should be at least 15 working days between VFS appointment date and travel date. Unfortunately that has changed for the worse; since this week the process time in the Netherlands is between 15 and 30 working days and expectations are that it might even go to 45 working daysThis means when applying for a Schengen visa you might lose your passport for  a maximum of more than 2 months.

As GNBCC we advise our Members to follow an alternative route if your company has a subsidiary or representation in another Schengen country such as for instance Belgium. This route was already followed by at least one Member with a subsidiary in Antwerp. The Swiss Embassy handles the VISA applications for Belgium . The application route is the same; first an appointment through the VFS website – to get an appointment here is easier and faster  because no appointment limitations. After the VFS appointment where you submit your passport and supporting documents you have your passport returned within 5 working days - this is because the issuing of the VISA is done in Accra at the Swiss Embassy. Same applies for other Schengen countries which process their VISA locally instead of sending the passports to Europe.

We do hope that the situation concerning VISA for The Netherlands will improve soon but for now this is our best advice in case you do not have the time to lose your passport for 2 months.

Thank you

Tjalling Wiarda

General Manager, GNBCC

 

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