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What to Do If Your Schengen Visa Application Was Rejected?

Last updated on December 19, 2023

Applying for a Schengen visa can be a tedious and anxious process. You submit your documents, attend your appointment, and await the decision. Unfortunately, getting rejected is a possibility. In 2021, the rejection rate for Schengen visa applications was 9.9%. If your Schengen visa application gets denied, don’t panic. There are steps you can take to reapply successfully.

Schengen Visa Application Was Rejected

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know, from dealing with rejection to appealing the decision.

Schengen Visa Application Was Rejected

The Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries. To travel here, travelers from other countries must obtain a Schengen visa. The requirements and approval rates vary based on your nationality and purpose of travel. Schengen Visa Application Was Rejected

Unfortunately, rejections are common. According to the latest statistics:

  • Over 2 million Schengen visa applications were rejected in 2021.
  • The highest rejection rates were for visa applications from Africa (32.5%) and the Middle East (11.7%).
  • The most common reason for rejection was “justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay was not provided.” This refers to insufficient travel documentation.

Some key reasons why Schengen visa applications get denied include:

  • Incomplete or inaccurate documents: Missing documents, incorrect information, false claims, or lack of translations can lead to instant rejection.
  • Insufficient funds: If you cannot prove you have sufficient funds for the trip and living expenses, the visa may get denied.
  • No proof of accommodation: Evidence of hotel bookings or accommodation arrangements is required.
  • Flight itinerary issues: Failure to provide a round-trip booking with correct dates can cause problems.
  • high-risk profile: You may get flagged as a potential immigrant if you are unemployed, or your documents show inconsistencies.
  • Prior rejections or overstays: Having previously overstayed in the Schengen Area or violated visa policies can lead to rejection.

Step 1: Read the Rejection Letter Carefully:

The first step after facing rejection is to read the refusal letter sent by the consulate carefully. It will explain the main reason your Schengen Visa Application Was Rejected. The letter will also offer instructions on how to appeal the decision if desired. Some key aspects to look for in the rejection letter include:

  • The specific visa policy or article you violated: This will be cited from the Schengen Visa Code. Knowing the exact clause helps locate the discrepancies.
  • List of supporting documents that were missing or inadequate: The letter will mention which key documents were problematic or rejected.
  • Details on other adverse findings from your application that raised red flags.
  • Instructions for appeal: The letter will have details on the appeal procedure, including timeframe, fees, and requirements.

First, Find out why your Schengen Visa Application Was Rejected, then thoroughly analyzing the refusal letter helps identify the weaknesses in your previous application. You can then take corrective actions when reapplying. Having an English translation of the letter is recommended to fully comprehend the problems highlighted.

Step 2: Gather More Documents and Evidence

After pinpointing the deficiencies in your previous visa application, the next step is to gather more documents and evidence to strengthen your upcoming reapplication. Some key types of additional documentation to collect include:

  • Proof of sufficient funds: Bank statements, fixed deposit receipts, investment papers. Must cover cost of entire trip.
  • Accommodation booking confirmations: Valid hotel bookings for the entire trip duration.
  • Detailed travel itinerary: A day-wise itinerary of your planned sightseeing, transport, hotels, etc.
  • Sponsorship proof: If someone else is funding your trip, get a legal sponsorship letter from them.
  • Confirmation from workplace: Permission letter approving leave for the specified dates.
  • Tax documents: Recent income tax returns, business registration papers, etc.
  • Property ownership docs: Title deeds, rent agreements for properties owned in home country.
  • Family ties evidence: Marriage or birth certificates establishing your ties and incentive to return after the trip.
  • Round-trip flight booking: A confirmed return flight booking from your home country.
  • Travel insurance: Proof of adequate travel medical insurance for duration of trip.
  • Cover letter: Explaining purpose, itinerary and reasoning for your trip.

The goal is to leave no room for doubt or ambiguity when reapplying. Collect excessive documentation to make your case beyond convincing.

Step 3: Fix Any Inconsistencies

A major reason Schengen visa applications get rejected is information mismatches in the various documents. Double check that you have fixed any such inconsistencies in your updated application dossier. Watch out for:

  • Mismatch in name spellings across documents.
  • Varying dates of birth listed on different papers.
  • Different passport numbers mentioned.
  • Conflicting employment history across documents.
  • Mismatch in bank account numbers, balances, or signatures.
  • Varying dates for travel, hotel stays, etc.

Carefully cross-verify all facts, figures, dates, identities, financials, and trip details across your reapplication documents. Ensure 100% consistency to avoid raising any red flags.

Step 4: Reassess Your Travel Plans if Needed

Sometimes your travel itinerary itself may be problematic and likely to get rejected again. If your trip plans seemed suspicious or unrealistic, reconsider if they should be altered when reapplying.

Some aspects to evaluate:

  • Duration of stay: Is it too long without sufficient justification? Limit it to a reasonable time frame.
  • Visited too many countries: Limiting your trip to 1 or 2 nations can look more genuine.
  • Activities: List specific sites you wish to visit and your interest in them. Generic tourism looks dubious.
  • Transport gaps: Ensure you have booked continuous transport between your listed accommodations.
  • Funds: Do you have enough money to feasibly cover all costs realistically? Restrict lavish plans.
  • High-risk country: If you booked a flight via a nation perceived risky, consider rerouting.

Adjusting your itinerary itself to appear more focused, modest and logical can help avoid recurring issues.

Step 5: Address Any Prior Visa Violations

If your application got denied due to any prior visa violations, overstays or deportation orders, you must convince the consulate these will not repeat.

Some tips if you have past issues:

  • Overstay explanation: Provide documentation proving the overstay was unintentional, along with evidence of your prompt departure.
  • Ban period expired: If previously banned from Schengen Area for rule violation, show that the penalty period has completed.
  • Successful recent visas: Proof of recent trouble-free visas and trips to other nations can demonstrate you are reformed.
  • Changed circumstances: Explain in your cover letter why your situation is different now making you low risk compared to before.

While having past transgressions makes getting approved harder, honestly addressing them and reassuring officials can still work if you have become a responsible traveler.

Step 6: Reapply at a Different Consulate

One sneaky but effective trick is to reapply for your Schengen visa at a different consulate location altogether. This completely resets you as a first time applicant without past rejections counting against you.

Some strategies when visa shopping between consulates:

  • Identify consulates where your nationality has higher approval odds.
  • Target consulates with lower application volumes so they have more time.
  • Check online reviews of various consulates to spot lenient or difficult ones.
  • Avoid reapplying at the same consulate that denied you.
  • Consider applying from a different city if feasible to access another consulate.

While requirements remain the same, approval rates can unofficially vary between individual visa processing centers. Picking the optimal consulate strategically can make a difference.

Step 7: Get a Visa Consultant or Lawyer

If your application has already gotten rejected multiple times, it may be wise to utilize the services of a visa consultant or lawyer as the next resort. A visa professional can:

  • Review your case history and pinpoint recurring issues.
  • Advise customized solutions to overcome the rejections.
  • Ensure your new application is air-tight with ample documents.
  • Legally represent your case and communicate with the consulate on your behalf.
  • Provide specialized legal assistance for appeals or lawsuits related to rejections.

While hiring a consultant adds to your costs, their expertise, diplomatic finesse and persistence can get you over the line in complex cases.

Step 8: Submit a Formal Appeal

Once you have prepared a stronger application dossier, the next option is to submit a formal appeal against your Schengen visa rejection. The process entails:

  • Check appeal validity: Confirm the mandatory appeal timeframe has not lapsed, usually within 2-4 weeks of rejection.
  • Notice of appeal: Inform the consulate via email or letter about your intent to appeal. Provide required details.
  • Pay appeal fee: A non-refundable charge applies for processing your appeal, around $70 on average.
  • Submit updated documents: Compile the additional papers collected to further justify your case.
  • Motivation letter: Write a cover letter with persuasive reasoning for your appeal. Explain how you meet all entry requirements.
  • Wait for decision: The consulate will review your documents and issue a final decision, typically within 30 days of your appeal.
  • Extended options: If your appeal gets rejected again, you may be able to file higher court lawsuits in some cases. But the costs and effort are substantial.

When done right, appeals give a second chance to present your best case. Around 25% of Schengen visa appeals prove successful as per European Commission data.

Accept Rejection Gracefully As a Last Resort

Despite your best efforts, in rare cases, you may ultimately have to accept defeat if the consulate denies your Schengen visa again. Reasons could include:

  • Permanent ineligibility: You have been indefinitely blacklisted and barred from entry.
  • Insufficient reform: The consulate remains unconvinced you are reformed despite measures taken.
  • Higher risk profile: Your demographics and credentials still raise excessive doubt.
  • Geopolitical factors: Your country of origin itself is deemed very high-risk currently.

If you have diligently taken all possible steps but still do not make the eligibility cut due to factors outside your control, gracefully accepting the final refusal may be the only option. Consider applying for visas to other desirable destinations instead.

Here is a comparison table summarizing the key steps:

StageAction Items
1. Analyze rejectionRead refusal letter thoroughly noting all deficiencies identified
2. Gather more documentsCollect additional financial, employment, property, itinerary, and family documents
3. Fix inconsistenciesCross-verify all details across documents for mismatches
4. Alter travel plansModify unreasonable durations, activities, transport, funds if needed
5. Address past issuesExplain previous violations and overstays satisfactorily
6. Change consulatesResearch alternate consulate options with higher approval odds
7. Hire consultantsEngage professional services for complex cases needing legal aid
8. Submit formal appealFollow proper appeal procedure within timeline along with updated dossier

FAQs about Schengen Visa Application Rejection:

How many times can you reapply after getting rejected for a Schengen visa?

There is no definitive limit. You can keep reapplying provided you allow some time gap between repeat applications and present additional documentation to strengthen your case.

Can you get a Schengen visa without an invitation letter?

Yes, an invitation letter is not mandatory. You can provide alternate host documentation like hotel bookings, Airbnb reservation, tour package, etc.

What are the total chances of winning a Schengen visa appeal?

As per data, around 25% of Schengen visa appeals get approved finally after an initial rejection. But your individual odds depend on the strength of your application.

Is there a way to find out why my Schengen visa was rejected?

Yes, the refusal notification letter issued by the consulate will specify the reasons for your rejection based on deficiencies in your visa application.

What is the best way to correct mistakes in my Schengen visa reapplication?

Read the refusal notice carefully. Follow their highlighted issues, gather more documents, fix inconsistencies in facts, adjust your itinerary, and ensure your reapplication is polished and complete. Schengen Visa Application Was Rejected

Can consulting services guarantee a Schengen visa approval after rejection?

No, there are no guarantees. But professional services vastly improve your odds by identifying flaws, strategizing your case, and formally representing your appeal.

Getting your dream Schengen visa after an initial rejection may require effort but is still possible. Analyze refusal reasons, collect more convincing documents, eliminate discrepancies, change plans if needed, consider new consulates, appeal formally, and utilize consultants. With diligent perseverance, you can reapply more convincingly. Do not lose hope. Maintain composure, systematically address shortcomings, and continue making your best case persistently.

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