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A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that permits holders to travel across 26 European countries within 90 days. While Schengen visas provide many benefits, such as the flexibility to travel across international borders with a single document, application rejections are commonplace and can happen for various reasons. If this circumstance has happened to you, don’t worry because you aren’t alone. Applying for a Schengen visa after rejection may be frustrating, but it’s worth the effort in the end.
If your Schengen visa application was recently rejected, there’re a few essential steps you should take before reapplying, including the following:
- Carefully review the reasons for denial
- Determine if the decision for rejection was incorrect
- Review your initial application to determine if errors exist
- Gather documentation to support your claim or make corrections to the application
- Submit letters of appeal
- Schedule your embassy appointment
This article will examine why Schengen visas get denied and provide answers to commonly asked questions about the visa process.
Why do Schengen visas get rejected?
Schengen visa rejections most commonly occur for the following reasons:
- A consular officer determines that an application is lacking accurate information
- There is missing required documentation
- The applicant does not meet the minimum requirements to receive a visa
- The candidate represents a threat to public health or safety
- The application has been determined to be fraudulent
However, an application may also be denied for many other reasons, as approval comes solely at the reviewing officer’s discretion. As such, visa applicants must understand the various reasons for Schengen visa rejection before going through the process to avoid repeated denials. Here are some of the most typically encountered reasons why Schengen visas are not approved.
1) Recent or Existing Criminal Records
An applicant’s background, including past or current criminal records, will warrant strong consideration from the consular officer during the application process.
A person may have a history of committing acts of terrorism, child abuse, or substance addiction. These factors could lead the officer to believe that approving the application could endanger public policy, national security, and economic consequences. These circumstances thus necessitate the denial of the visa.
2) Fake Travel Documents
When visa applicants use fake IDs or forged travel documents, imminent visa denial is warranted. Misrepresenting, altering, or using fake or non-existent identity and travel documents reflect dishonesty and intentional fraud. Not only will this result in your application being denied, but these are criminal offenses that can also significantly decrease the chances of visa application appeal.
3) Damaged and Invalid Passport
If a traveler shows a damaged or unpresentable passport, the chance for visa refusal is substantial. Such damage includes detached or missing pages, water exposure, alteration of the photograph, or passport stamp entries. Likewise, showing an unacceptable or expired passport may require the consular officer to review the application carefully.
The applicant can still travel with a Schengen visa issued with an expired passport. However, the Embassy and Consulates highly advise the visa transfer to a new passport for representation. This action is recommended to prevent any hassles when traveling in the Schengen area. If your current visa already expired, you cannot extend your stay within the Schengen area.
4) Invalid Travel Insurance
Another reason for disapproval is the inability to provide proper travel insurance coverage for the remainder of the stay in Schengen territory countries. Failure to present an acceptable travel insurance policy for Schengen and home country trips are grounds for invalidation.
Schengen Visa Rejection Rates
In 2019, Schengen embassies, visa processing areas, and consulates received about 17 million visa applications. However, application rates are expected to decrease due to Covid-19. Additionally, visa rejection rates climbed through the years, from 8.2% in 2017, 9.6% in 2018, and 9.9% in 2019.
Luckily, visa applicants do have the right to appeal denied applications or resubmit a new one for approval.
What can I do if my Schengen visa is refused?
Data suggests that roughly 1 in 10 people will have their Schengen visa application denied. This data is essential to understand upfront, so you are better prepared to deal with the frustration of having your rejection. If you are denied, applicants can request an appointment with a consular officer in a Schengen-affiliated embassy and submit an appeal letter for Schengen visa rejection.
How to write a Schengen Visa Appeal Letter
When writing an appeal letter, it should present clear, valid grounds stating the reason for reconsidering the denial. That includes supporting legal documents and other information that can strengthen your case. Here are the essential criteria needed to construct a well-written and compelling appeal letter:
1) Personal Information and Schengen Visa Application Details
The letter’s first paragraph should contain your name, home address, place and date of birth, and passport number. Then, state the valid reasons for appealing for a visa application. Indicate when and where the visa application was made and the definite purpose of visiting and staying in Schengen.
2) Visa Denial Details
The second paragraph should present when the rejection letter was received and cite the visa denial reasons. Then, explain why the visa application was denied without overemphasizing or questioning the embassy’s judgment for such.
3) Reasons for Appeal
Further explain the reasons in the third paragraph in a convincing, constructive manner, and provide references for your claim. Show confidence and conviction in stating the reasons for the reconsideration of Schengen visa approval. Your goal should be to seek to provide clarification on your application and not to make demands.
4) Clear Intent for Travel
Conclude the appeal with the date of planned travel to imply a sense of urgency and necessity of the request. Don’t forget to state that you intend to return to your country of residence for reasons such as work, school, or a family. Also, don’t forget to identify your full name, email, and phone number at the end of the letter.
5) Attachment of Supporting Documents
Apart from the letter, attach valid and recent supporting documents to substantiate the visa application appeal. This documentation will all depend on the previously cited reasons for rejection. A sample Schengen visa rejection appeal letter in two parts is found in these links (1) (2).
Can I appeal a Schengen visa rejection?
An applicant has every right to appeal a Schengen visa rejection, as long as the applicant has valid reasons to do so. The applicant must strictly follow the steps and properly construct an appeal letter. This letter must be presented to the embassy within 15 days of receiving the Consulate’s note of visa refusal. Finally, choose the embassy covering the Schengen area where you intend to travel and stay. It can help avoid unnecessary visa rejection or delays.
How soon can I reapply for a Schengen visa?
There’s no specific time limit regarding the Schengen visa reapplication. However, the review, processing, and evaluation of the request and supporting documents vary from every Schengen zone. The processing usually takes 35 days from the date the request was received from the Consulate.
How many times can I apply for a Schengen visa?
Submitting applications for a Schengen visa is unlimited, even after multiple rejections. However, you should ensure that you ascertain the right Schengen-affiliated embassy to review and process the application. One has to fill out the Schengen visa application form accordingly and book an embassy appointment for a visa application.
Exert effort and time to prepare the necessary supplementary documents to back up visa application, and attend the embassy appointment. It’s crucial to submit essential documents, biometrics for the visa, pay the proper fees, and show up on-time for the interview.
How do I know when my Schengen visa is approved?
After a successful stint on the appeal, you are now ready for a new Schengen visa application. After application, you can track it via the embassy affiliated with the Schengen destination of your choice. You can track your visa application through a call, personal email, or internal website inquiry at the embassy’s website.
How long does a Schengen visa take to process after approval?
However, holidays, rejection reasons, the timing of sending the visa appeal, and staffing at the embassy itself may affect the visa processing and release length. In some cases, the embassies receive a review and process visas within 30 calendar days.
In extreme cases, the processing time reaches up to 60 calendar days. There are also expected longer times for the Schengen visa application processing during popular European summer holidays in June to August.
Can you fast-track a Schengen visa?
Unfortunately, there is no option to fast-track a Schengen visa application and processing. An applicant needs to observe the visa processing period of 15 days. It is crucial to prepare and bring the necessary forms and documents to avoid delays in processing.
However, if there is an absolute urgency, you may send an email directly to the embassy where you applied. You may appeal for a request to expedite the application process with the flight tickets. But there is no absolute guarantee that the request will be granted.
Applying for a Schengen visa after rejection can be depressing for applicants who looked forward to visiting and traveling the Schengen areas. Applying for a Schengen visa after rejection is feasible by creating and submitting an appeal letter to an affiliate embassy. Submit the appeal letter within 15 calendar days from receipt of denial and construct the letter carefully with the elements we discussed in this article.