France, Germany, Spain: these 3 countries would be responsible for 66.5% of C visa application rejections out of the 379,207 applications filed in 2021, according to statistics published by the Schengen Visa News website*. Applicants from Morocco, one of the countries most affected by these rejections, reportedly spent nearly €3 million on rejected applications. Let’s come back in this article on what the Schengen visa is and the conditions to be met to submit a complete application.
The concept of visa waiver is essential in immigration: it is about the possibility for certain citizens to enter certain countries for a certain period, depending on diplomatic and bilateral agreements between these countries. For example, a French citizen will be able to travel to Brazil for 90 days without having to obtain a visa first, simply by showing his valid French passport upon arrival on Brazilian territory. The same goes for the Brazilian citizen.
When there is no visa waiver agreement between two countries, a visa must be obtained from the consulate of the concerned country before entering its territory.
We take this opportunity to remind you that by the end of 2023, the ETIAS system should be put in place: like the American ESTA, it is not a visa, but a travel authorization to be obtained before entering the Schengen area for any citizen benefiting from an exemption and wishing to travel to the Schengen area. ETIAS: The European ESTA in 2023 – OUI Immigration (oui-immigration.com)
What is the Schengen Visa?
For people wishing to travel to the Schengen area and not benefiting from visa exemption, a visa must be obtained. This visa, commonly called “Schengen Visa”, is divided into 3 categories: the ATV visa for airport transits, the C visa less than 90 days stays for tourist or business purposes, and the D visa issued for more than 90 days stays (work, family, retirement ,….).
Rejections mainly focus on the C visa, but are not strictly dedicated to it.
The first reflex is to check with the adequate Consulate which documents are required. Some, such as the passport with a validity of more than 3 months after the date you have to leave the Schengen area and holding at least 2 blank pages, ID pictures following the norms, the insurance certificate covering your trip, proof of accommodation, return flight booking, perfectly completed visa application form…. are inseparable from that request.
The second reflex is to put yourself in the shoes of a consular officer who receives your application and who will seek to know:
- What you are going to do in the country
- How you will provide for your financial needs
- When and why you will leave it
Asking yourself these questions will help you putting together a complete file. Each file will be personal and will depend on the purpose of the visit, and you can consult Oui Immigration for this. Nevertheless:
- Prove what you are going to do in the country concerned, by providing invitation letter / conference flyer / formal proof of the meeting you are to attend / letter of explanation about what you are coming to do will serve to make the Consulate understand the purpose of your trip;
- Give proof of your financial resources (pay slips, bank account statements, estate ownership certificate, bank attestation, retirement pension payments, employment contract, invoices, employer’s attestation ….) covering the daily amount required by the Schengen country concerned will help to make the Consulate understand that the State will not have to provide for your financial needs during your stay;
- Show the links uniting you to your current country (employment contract, marriage certificate, birth certificates of children, title deed, employer letter,….) and the return flight ticket will be used to make it clear to the Consulate that you will leave the country when your visa expires, or before, and that you will not decide to stay there illegally.
Anticipate your request: from one Consulate to another, the mandatory appointment to submit your application, pay the application fee and leave your biometric fingerprints may be available in a week… or in 2 months.
In addition, some documents (certificate of accommodation, letters,….) may take time to obtain. Present the originals with copies, and remember to translate them into the language of the country concerned.
Decision of the authorities
The Consulate, once your application is received, will check your file and give, or not, its agreement. Generally, the file is processed in 2/3 working weeks, but it all depends on the Consulate’s workload at that time.
The authorities are sovereign in their decisions and deadlines. The latter may therefore take a longer time, additional documents may be requested and the decision may be negative even if your file seems very complete to you – in addition, the reason for the refusal will not be systematically given to you. The rejection can be given because of your file, a previous refusal, a history in the Schengen area (overstay) or for political reasons that you cannot control – by putting together an extremely complete file and meeting the expectations of the Consulate, you obviously put more chances on your side, but the decision remains that of the Consulate.
- If you plan to visit several countries in the Schengen area, you must apply for the visa in the first country’s Consulate you will visit;
- A refusal does not prevent you from re-submitting an application. That said, it is better to let a few months pass before doing this.
- When a refusal is pronounced, it is entered in your file and it is accessible to all countries of the Schengen area. It is therefore not advisable to submit your application to the Consulate of another country.
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