Schengen visas could be complicated. There are 26 member countries, and each has their own rules and systems. Currently, the area is volatile, given all the developments in the area over the past year. Terrorist attacks, earlier in 2017, resulted in long waits for Indians to get their Schengen visas approved. There was a 10%-15% drop in travel to European destinations in the summer, according to a report on Business Line. Keeping aside unusual circumstances, the visa is highly reliant on documentary proofs, if you have all the necessary documents to support your intent to travel, there is no reason why the visa application should be rejected.
Schengen Visa Rejection Reasons
1. Failure to Provide Documentary Evidence Regarding the Travel Itinerary:
This is a broad area, so mistakes could be many, such as:
- You apply to the wrong embassy.
Your main destination country is where you will spend maximum nights or the country whose border you first enter.
- You have not booked tickets for all the people in your group (in case of group travel).
- You are vague in mentioning the places you will visit and the exact dates of entry and exit from those places in your cover letter.
- There is no valid proof of accommodation.
Absence of hotel vouchers or address proof of relatives and friends you might stay with, or absence of an invitation letter from your host.
- Lack of information regarding mode of travel within the country.
If you plan to use public transport, like buses and underground rail, mention that. If you are planning a train journey, mention that.
- Travel documents are false.
This could lead to serious consequences, apart from visa refusal.
The Schengen area has a strict Entry and Exit System (EES) for all visa holders. In the wake of the recent immigration crisis, the system has made it easier to check that the authorized duration of a short stay, 90 days in any 180-day period, is respected, according to a report published by European Parliament News. So, make sure you are very clear about your travel plans and have all documents in place.
2. Passport Invalidity
- Passport doesn’t have at least 2 blank pages.
- Passport is valid for less than three months after return from the Schengen Area.
- Passport is damaged; detached cover, missing pages.
- Passport is valid but older than 10 years.
3. Invalid Travel Insurance:
If you are unable to procure travel insurance that meets the guidelines of Schengen Visa approval, then your visa could be rejected, such as:
- The insurance coverage is for less than €30,000.
- The policy is not valid for all places you are visiting.
- The policy doesn’t give coverage till you return from your visit.
- The insurance company is not recognized in the Schengen Area.
4. Insufficient Funds for Sustenance/Lack of Documentary Proof of Finance:
If you are unemployed and do not have sufficient funds, or fail to provide evidence for the same; the visa official could think that you intend to look for employment opportunities while you are in the Schengen Area. Similarly, a retired person would also have to provide proof, such as pension statements of the last six months or any other proof of sustenance, like income from a house or property papers. Make sure that the account statements from the bank are not generated online.
- In case you are employed, TDS certificate from employer is necessary.
- Income tax return statements and proof is necessary.
- Traveller’s cheques should have your name.
5. Past Criminal Prosecution/Past Visa Violations:
If you are seen as a threat to internal security or you have in any way violated their rules and regulations in the past, the consular officer can decide to reject your application. Prosecution in child abuse, terrorism activities, addiction and other record of serious crime will get your visa application rejected. If you have violated previous visa limitations, like overstayed in the Schengen Area, or didn’t stay in the main destination country for long, you will create the wrong impression on the visa officer.
In case your visa gets rejected, you can always re-apply for a new visa. You can also take the path of filing an appeal. The appeals are benched upon by the individual countries and are not governed by any central European policy.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in comments. Happy travels! 🙂