Contributed by The Travel Guy Shops
TRAVELING WITH A THIRD WORLD PASSPORT LIKE A PHILIPPINE ONE IS NOT EASY. International immigration officials, even local ones, always assume the worst in you, like you’re going to be an illegal worker despite the fact that your destination country is visa-free. But look at some Europeans who just become beg-packers in Asia.
I thought my Schengen visa-related misfortunes ended in Bulgaria where I was detained/interrogated. But wait, there’s more! At some point after that, I obviously must’ve challenged life and said: “Is that all you’ve got? Bring it on!” because what happened next was worse.
I wasn’t supposed to be in Casablanca. I wasn’t even supposed to be in Doha Airport again either one year later, but I was because, for the first time, I was actually denied boarding at Marrakesh Airport.
I was supposed to stop over at two cities in Schengen states before being back in Asia but apparently, stopping over at Schengen states twice in a row without a valid visa is NOT allowed, even if I did just come from that place. Stopping over at one Schengen airport is perfectly fine, just not two or more! I did not get that memo. My plan was simply to check in online for the next flight at my stopovers or request for assistance at the airport transit desk over there. There was no way I could have known or considered it would be an issue; I wouldn’t know until I was already in that situation.
So I did not board my Marrakesh-Lisbon-Milan-Singapore flight and had no choice but to buy a new ticket or be stuck there. Such a stupid rule, but this is charged to experience. My credit card thankfully has a high credit limit.
“If I’m being honest about my feelings, I felt defeated and humiliated when the airline check in counter insisted that I cannot board.”
If I’m being honest about my feelings, I felt defeated (and even humiliated, since it was my first time) when the airline check in counter insisted that I cannot board. Of course, I did not want to buy another ticket that would be more expensive, and I didn’t know if the ones I had could be refunded, but it isn’t so much about the cost that bothered me; rather, it was the disruption in my plans and the fact that I had to waste so much time waiting. But what else can I do but pick up the pieces and move forward.
I could have just kept quiet and saved myself from further embarrassment, but doing that will guarantee that this situation remains forever senseless. On the other hand, sharing about this will hopefully prevent someone else from being in the same predicament, especially if that person doesn’t have the means to simply buy a new ticket as needed.
1. Try to get a multiple entry visa as it will save you from unexpected circumstances like mine. When submitting your visa application, you can initially state that you are headed outside of Schengen (example: Spain to Morocco, UK, other Europe or elsewhere) and back. You may or may not follow this itinerary since plans change after all depending on a lot of factors including a sudden increase in airfare. If you get single only, just make sure that all countries in your itinerary are part of the Schengen area. FYI: Bulgaria is NOT one of them.
2. Stopping over within the airport of just 1 Schengen country is fine without a visa but any more than that and you need to get a transit visa.
3. Booking 2 separate one-way tickets with the intent of stopping over at an airport that you cannot exit (because your visa will be used by that time) is risky and needs to be thoroughly assessed ahead of time.
I’m the best travel guide ever! I’ll show you everything you should NOT do based on my actual experience. lol