'Choose a job that you love and you'll never have to work for the rest of your life.'
How I got to Amsterdam is a quite a nice story to tell but I'd leave it off the records. The bottom line is I got invited to an exclusive event which I think you'll figure out after going through this post.
Traveling to The Netherlands From DubaiThe first and most important thing that you need to secure when you plan to go to Amsterdam is your Schengen Visa (pronounced as 'sheng-gen'). It's a visa for European countries excluding United Kingdom. If you're living in Dubai, you can apply for it at VFS Global. Find Me A Break's post about applying for a Schengen visa helped me a lot in getting this done.
There's another story behind my Schengen Visa: I only received it 3 days before my actual travel date! Crazy right?!
This is because I wasn't really sure if I will proceed to travel. A tourist visa is different from a business visa and the thing with traveling for business is that there are a couple of documents that you need to present to the embassy which may possibly cause the delay so better get everything ready so that you can avoid the stress I faced when I applied for mine, ha!
Checklist For A Stress-Free Business Visa Application To The Netherlands
- FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Secure an appointment date a month before your travel date. I travelled from May 29 until June 2 and I secured my appointment date (May 22) only 2 weeks before that, something I should've done in late April when I heard about the conference. Getting all the documents ready is quite tricky so if you see something coming and you think you have the shot to get in, hit the schedule an appointment button right away. Click this link to schedule an appointment for Netherlands Visa Application. Note that from the time I applied for an appointment, it is required to pay AED 112 via a credit/debit card for the appointment letter and receipt. Also, my travel period is a peak season so most schedules are tight unless you take the premium application.
- PREPARE ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR A BUSINESS VISA including the following:
- A completed and signed Schengen visa application form.
- A passport or other travel document - must be valid for at least 3 months from the date on which you leave the Schengen area, must have at least 2 empty visa pages AND cannot have been issued more than 10 years ago.
- A copy of an identity document bearing your signature - your Emirates ID and Labor Card or DMCC ID.
- Evidence of legal residence in the country you are applying from, e.g. a passport, visa or residence permit and a copy. Residence permit should be valid for at least 3 months after departure from Schengen.
- A passport photo that meets Dutch passport requirements. This photo should not be more than 6 months old.
- Travel itinerary - travel reservations in your name, and not a ticket. This includes both airline and hotel reservations which you can cancel.
- Health and travel insurance - I have my company health insurance and a travel insurance that I purchased from DNATA.
- Documents proving that you will return to your own country after your trip - an NOC from your employer. If you are working from a free zone like DMCC, this needs to be authenticated by the free zone consultative body.
- Documents proving your visit relates to business or a cultural or sporting event - in my case, I got an invitation from the company or event I intend to visit in Amsterdam. It is clearly stated in the invitation that I am paying for my travel and expenses. I also provided a document from my employer stating my job, salary and the purpose of my visit.
- 6 months bank statement - to prove that you are earning in the UAE.
- Visa fee - Payment for visa fee must be made in cash, I paid AED 500 in total (AED250 for the Schengen Visa and additional AED250 for premium service to get it in less than a week)
- ATTEND TO YOUR APPOINTMENT ON TIME. You will not be allowed to come in if you do not have an appointment so like I mentioned, you need to secure your appointment schedule. VFS Global's appointment office is located at the 2nd level of Wafi Mall and a few minutes walk from Dubai Healthcare City Metro Station (Green Line).
- KEEP CALM AND PREPARE YOUR LUGGAGE WHILE YOU WAIT FOR YOUR VISA. Once you have already completed the submission and showed up for the appointment, they will be getting your mobile number to update the status of your application. My appointment was at 12:00nn and when I went to the biometrics section, I noticed that all off my documents were placed in a red envelope with orange and red stickers (this means your application is on top priority). After 3 days of impatiently waiting, I got an SMS saying my passport is ready for collection and so I went back to VFS Global to pick it up and viola, APPROVED! Multiple entry valid for one month!
Flying To Amsterdam From Dubai - Connecting Flights Are The Cheapest!
Schiphol's Airport And The Train Station Is A Totally Different World
The I Amsterdam City Card
Don't Book A Room For Yourself, Share The Amsterdam Experience With Others
Power Plugs and Sockets In Amsterdam
Other Useful Things To Bring In Amsterdam
- A pair of good quality boots - mine's from Naturalizer. I also have with me a pair of rubber shoes and flats that are good for long walks and wet roads.
- An umbrella, a sturdy umbrella - it rained most of the time when I was in Amsterdam and it helped that I have my Ikea foldable umbrella with me when I travelled
- A raincoat
- Wet Tissue - there's no bidet in most toilets of Amsterdam and the best way to keep your hygiene and keep yourself clean is to carry with you wet tissues all the time.
- A map - this will be useful for directions. When I was in Amsterdam, I used it most of the time especially my Google Street View App and Google Maps.
- Power bank for your mobile and extra battery for your camera because all corners of the streets are worth the snap