The Schengen Visa Experience

Writing by on Thursday, 17 of March , 2011 at 6:41 pm

The Schengen Visa allows travel to the following 25 countries that are part of the Schengen Agreement (As of now: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland)

I recently needed to apply for the Schengen Visa in person since I was traveling to France, the Netherlands and Switzerland (in that order) with most of my travel time in Switzerland. It’s a simple process if you know what you’re doing but it can be a hassle. Hey, that’s what you get for not being a citizen of the “first world”.

But seriously, The Swiss Embassy has made it very easy to apply and provided all the necessary info on their Schengen Visa Information page. Moreover, unlike the French and some other Consulates No Appointments Necessary at least at the Swiss Embassy in SF as long as you show up between 9am and Noon.

The Best Part at the Swiss Embassy was that there were no lines. In fact, there was nobody at the Embassy except for me and the Lady behind the Visa Desk.

Here’s a list of things that were needed (when I was applying):

  • Passport, Green Card/Visa, Photos, Visa Application and Processing Fees — (Pretty Standard)
  • Bank Statements With Sufficient Funds — (You’re taking a vacation – You better have the cash)
  • Your Flight Itinerary — (Yes Really! even before you go for your appointment)
  • Travel Arrangements: Hotel Reservations for Every Night and tickets within Europe — (Yes, Sir)
  • Travel Insurance — (Holy, crap)
  • Verification of Employment (Letter or pay stubs, etc.) — (Hmmm)

And Here’s a breakdown on the damage:

  • Visa Application Fee that keeps going up ($77)
  • FedEx charge to have them mail back my passport ($15)
  • Travel Insurance for 11 days ($13)
  • Passport Size Photos from Costco ($10)
  • Parking in San Francisco ($8)
  • Plus photo-copying/printing charges

The Hassle:

  • Getting Travel Insurance. I bought it from InsuBuy.Com (found them after a google search)
  • Getting the Employment Verification Letter. Depending on your company it may be easy.
  • Driving to and from San Francisco and finding parking there.
  • Photocopying all your documents.

When I submitted the application, they told me that the Passport/Visa would arrive by FedEx a week later (and it arrived exactly on the day they said)

The only disappointment was that it was NOT valid for 3 months that is assumed. Rather, it was valid for just 2 weeks (which was 3 days more than the duration of my travel) and was valid for only one entry.

It served my purpose, but had they given me a year’s validity with multiple entries, I would have definitely made another trip and wouldn’t that have helped their businesses and tourism industry?

That’s all folks! It’s not too hard getting the Schengen Visa so don’t fret!

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Category: Travel

MySQL: Run SQL Queries From Command Line

Writing by on Thursday, 10 of March , 2011 at 5:51 pm

Here’s the syntax:

mysql -u user -p password database -e ‘SQL Query’

Here are a few examples:

mysql -u root -p mypass world -e ‘select * from city;’
mysql -u root -p mypass world -e ‘desc city;’

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Category: SQL DB

Shivdev Kalambi's Blog

Shivdev Kalambi is a Software Development Manager, previously a Principal Software Engineer at ArcSight/HP. With over 16 years' experience in software development, he's worked on several technologies and played different roles and contributed to all phases of projects. Non-tech activies include Ping-pong, Rock Climbing and Yoga at PG, Golf, Skiing, Swimming & a beer enthusiast.