Travelling in Europe is particularly convenient because you only need to apply for one visa if you choose destinations from the 26 Schengen Area countries. Schengen visas are among the most widely used visas. At the same time, it is also one of the most difficult visas to obtain, as a Schengen visa can be applied for many European countries and the rules and requirements vary from embassy to embassy. A good number of visa applications are rejected because of poor preparation on the part of applicants, and some of the reasons are basic things to consider before applying for a visa. Listed here are some of the most common mistakes that lead to a rejection of Schengen visa applications, so you can be careful when applying. Keep these common mistakes in mind if you plan to apply for a Schengen visa during your first try, and you can avoid rejection.
Common mistakes for Schengen visa rejection
Invalid, damaged passport
Any visa application begins with a valid, undamaged passport. Passports with less than 6 months of validity, or no blank pages, will not be considered for Schengen visa applications. The modern age requires all passports to be machine-readable, which means that any handwritten passport will disqualify applicants for visas. Falsifying an identity by presenting damaged or forged passports to an embassy or consulate will also result in unfavorable consequences, including a visa ban.
Ignoring of guidelines for photographs and visa application form
Applicants for Schengen visas must submit passport-sized photos that meet specific dimensions. Also, certain characteristics such as no obstruction of facial features and clear photographs are taken into account during visa processing. It is crucial to follow these guidelines to avoid visa rejections. Additionally, visa applications must be filled out completely and without any spelling errors. Each section of the visa application form should be filled out according to the instructions provided.
Lack of proof of purpose of travel
You may also face visa rejection if you fail to provide sufficient justification for the purpose and conditions of your visit. If you do not have all the necessary documentation supporting your travel and stay in Schengen countries such as a complete itinerary, proof of accommodation, and confirmed flight tickets, your application may be denied. To receive a Schengen visa, the applicant must provide convincing documentation proving his intention to visit the Schengen area.
To apply for a visa, you usually need to submit certain supporting documents to prove your background and financial stability. You must provide the embassy with adequate proof of your finances such as bank statements, salary slips, etc. to convince them that you will be able to sustain yourself financially while you are in the Schengen zone. If the applicant cannot prove sufficient funds to support travel and accommodation while in the Schengen area, the application can be rejected.
False, incorrect, or incomplete documentation
It is imperative that you follow the Schengen visa guidelines and ensure that you have all of the required documentation. Check for any expired documents, or documents that do not correspond with the travel plan, which would not be accepted by the embassy. Submitting false documents or giving incorrect supporting documents is a common cause for Schengen visa denials.
Inadequate or nonexistent travel and medical insurance coverage
When applying for a Schengen visa, an applicant must convince the embassy they will not become a liability for the Schengen countries they are visiting. Thus, valid and sufficient travel insurance and medical coverage are required when applying for a visa. Travel and medical insurance that covers hospital treatment or repatriation to one’s own country during a visit is a requirement.
Travel history and criminal record
An applicant’s criminal past or travel history may raise security concerns, thus denial of a visa. If the consulate or embassy finds the applicant is unsuitable for a visa since they are engaged in illegal or dishonest activities, or they find that the applicant is a threat to the internal peace of the Schengen region or its citizens, then they can reject the visa application. Therefore, the past and present actions of the applicant play a very important role in the decision of the consulate in issuing a Schengen visa.
Late application of Schengen visa
If you plan to travel to the Schengen area, you should apply for a Schengen visa well in advance of your travel dates since the embassies/consulates may need a few days to process your application, verify the documentation, and even request a visa interview. Visa processing time differs from country to country, which is why it is essential to apply early to avoid visa denials. Travel dates within a week of the date of visa application can lead to instant visa refusals.
Tips for a successful Schengen visa application
Now that you know the reasons for Schengen visa rejection, all you need to do is be meticulous and follow guidelines when applying for a Schengen visa. Here’s how you can lower your chances of being refused a Schengen visa.
- Check your passport. Make sure it is valid for more than 6 months from the date of departure, and that there are enough blank pages for visa formalities. Verify that there are no damages, torn pages, or blurred print that would result in a visa refusal.
- Make sure that all columns are filled out as per the instructions provided in the visa application form. Double-check your visa application form and documentation before sending it for visa processing. Make sure they are free of spelling errors and you have followed the visa guidelines. Check the supporting documents for accuracy and completeness.
- Fill out the application form honestly if you have any criminal convictions, past overstay histories, or medical conditions.
- If you want to avoid last-minute visa hassles, apply for a Schengen visa at least a month before your trip.