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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Justice for Schenge Visa Applicants

Justice for Schengen Visa Applicants

Have you been refused a Schengen Visa?
Did you find the reason for refusal incomprehensible?
Was your application decided merely on the basis of the documents submitted?
Were you not given a chance to explain any suspicions the consul might have had?

 If you answered "yes" to these questions, this blog is for you. And you are not alone. In 2011 745,000 people around the world had their visa application refused. In many cases, no doubt, the refusal was justified. But in many cases, such as the one I report in this blog, the refusal was in contravention of the rights of the applicant.
This blog is about the rights of applicants for a Schengen visa. It comprises:
  1. An outline of the rights of applicants for a Schengen according to EU law.
  2. The case history in my campaign to have the law recognized: Nangnoy's case.
  3. Suggestions for how the law should be amended
  4. Statistics on Schengen visa refusals.
My aim is to show the disconnect between the law as stated and, by way of the case example, how it has been applied in practice.

I am assuming that you know what a Schengen visa is and I'm assuming that you know which nationalities require the said visa.

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  4. Can you please advise the appeal email?

    1. No, sorry. If you are referring to France, this is not a transparent process. There are no email addresses, phone numbers or contact people. All you can do is send a snail mail, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

    2. Thanks Gregory :-)
      In Fact it was Poland.
      I failed to get a straight forward process either, any ideas?

  5. I'm not hopeful until the EU Commission comes around to the idea that applicants for a Schengen visa have rights. That could be a long way away.

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  7. hiiiii...
    hello mr.gregory barton ...
    plz send u r telephone no.

  8. Hi,
    I had applied for Schengen Visa through the Edinburgh VFS on Dec 3rd and received a message on Dec 16th saying that my application was incomplete. I was asked to re-submit the documents at the Edinburgh centre after I received the incomplete documents from Amsterdam.
    In one of the previous emails I received from the VFS, I was told that there is no deadline for the submission of the missing documents.
    I had been waiting for the incomplete documents to reach from Amsterdam (i.e the original signed letter from town hall), before I make a trip to Edinburgh to submit my documents. However I was shocked that my passport was returned to me on Jan 2nd and my visa application was rejected. The denial letter states that I failed to prove the
    1) relationship with the host/proof of accommodation
    2) sufficient means of subsistence for the duration of intended stay
    I am confused as to how my visa application was processed when I have not even re-submitted the documents. Once again, I was told that there was no deadline in the submission of the documents.
    The whole visa application process has been very upsetting. I was expecting to leave for Amsterdam on the 7th January 2015, but I was prepared to delay my trip after being told to re-submit the documents. But now, my application was rejected due to incomplete documents, when in the first place VFS global is supposed to wait for me to submit the documents before proceeding with my application.
    My doubt is if i'm applying for an appeal, am I expected to send the original signed letter(that I got from Amsterdam) as well? Because I dont want to lose the original letter.. Or would it be sufficient if I only send a typed letter regarding the reasons for appeal?

    1. The latter. If you send original documents for an appeal you won't see them again.

    2. The latter. If you send original documents for an appeal you won't see them again.

  9. Hi Gregory,

    I am planning to visit France in the first week of August. The problem is that I have had my Schengen visa rejected twice already - once in January 2015 and another time in March 2015. They gave me the same two reasons for rejection both the times -
    1. You do not have enough means of subsistence.
    2. Your exit from the Schengen state could not be ascertained.

    Whereas the truth is that I had no intention of being an illegal immigrant. For a 10-day trip, the first time I had shown around €2636 as savings, while the next time it was somewhere close to €9229. I still don't understand where it all went wrong. I applied for the visa alone, both the times i.e. I was the only one travelling to France.

    I want to go to France to meet my girlfriend, who's currently studying there. I think the biggest mistake I did was that I didn't mention this in the cover letter that I sent to the French Consulate.

    Now, I have a US (F-1) visa as I am going there to pursue my Master's degree starting August 21 this year. Would that support my case while applying for the Schengen visa this time?

    Your reply will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Ashish Shetty

  10. Although you have stated that your primary place of residence during your trip is in Member State of destination you indicated,it is not supported by the documents submitted
    This is refusal reason issued by Netherlands embassy to me.
    What does it mean?Can you please explain?
    What documents I should add to my sppeal?

    1. It means that you haven't submitted documents showing Netherlands as the place you intend to spend most time in during your visit to Europe. I suggest you take a look at the Visa Code, and in particular, Article 5 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A32009R0810

  11. Hi Gregory
    I have indefinite leave to remain in UK. I had Schengen visa for Spain twice in last two years. Now third time my Schengen tourist visa for Spain has been refused. The reason is an alert has been issued in Schengen information system for the purpose of refusing entry. I lodged the appeal to Spanish consulate but I couldn't provide any documents as I asked for explanation of this alert. After three days I received letter of unsuccessful appeal and now only can appeal in Madrid court. I am really struggling to find out about this alert. Spanish consulate never pick up the phone or there is anyone to speak about. I just handed over the appeal letter to the receptionists who didn't let me to talk to someone in person. Especially I went to see someone but all in vain. After searching online and getting some information, I wrote to secretary of Spanish to access the personal data in the Schengen information system and rectify it. Even I applied for subject access from ACRO UK. But not sure which documents should be presented for appeal. I was supposed to be travelling on 14th September for two weeks.
    Could you please advise.

    1. "An alert". Unfortunately, the Schengen system is plagued by vagueness and lack of transparency. An alert could be anything from overstaying to being a criminal.

      I suggest you call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Spain, find a relevant person for SIS, ask for an email and contact that person directly. You should check the list of possible alerts and try to imagine which category might apply. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Information_System

      If that fails, you could try the Spanish Data Protection Agency. http://www.agpd.es/portalwebAGPD/index-ides-idphp.php Not sure if your case is within their jurisdiction, but you might find someone who is sympathetic and knows how to get things done.
      If all else fails, you could try SOLVIT.
      Remember, call these agencies and find a person who is responsible, get their email address and contact them directly with the facts. This will save time.

      Good luck.

  12. Even I submitted the ACRO subject access after the refusal of appeal because I found out that there is not Schengen information system in UK, so personal data can be accessed by ACRO.

  13. Thanks Gregory. It's really helpful. Only waiting for their reply.

  14. Hi Gregory,

    I am planning to visit Sweden during the December Holidays for 3 weeks.unfortunately my visa has been declined on the basis that
    -Your intention to exist from the Schengen State could not be ascertained

    However, I am still a student here in Zimbabwe and I still need to presume Amy studies in March 2017. Most importantly my family is here and I am very committed to my family.I have provided all the necessary documents to prove why I need to come back including my flight ticket come back from Sweden. What exactly could be the problem? What else can I provide to support my justification for coming back home?

  15. Elna,

    Difficult case. Commitment to family is intangible. Returning to study appears to be less persuasive than returning to a job. You should ask the Swedish embassy how they would like 'ascertain' your intention. If necessary, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Sweden. Good luck.


  16. Hi,

    It is a really unfair system, my parents got an approved visa. On the day of travel they were called saying that their visa was cancelled. This was because we had changed our accommodation information. Now my parents cannot attend their sons graduation because of rejected visa status. The tag of the refusal says accommodation was not clear. The question is do we not have the right to change itinerary as per our convenience?

    1. Not sure what you mean by 'changed our accommodation information'. I don't see how they could be 'called' to say that their visa was cancelled. There is no procedure for this. Consulates do not, as far as I'm aware, call your hotel to make sure the booking is current the day you leave for Europe. If you changed the accommodation from that which was declared in the application it would have to be a change that suggested that the visa was fraudulently obtained. Your story sounds a bit odd.

      Read the Handbook interpreting Article 34 of the Visa Code.

  17. Hi Gregory,
    What if the Schengen Visa Code, Article 23 is violated? Where the Embassy take more than 60 days to make a decision after Visa application. And with in 30 and 60 days, the Embassy do not ask for any additional documents? And the Traveling dates of the Applicants are gone?
    I have gone through this situation last year.