The non-refundable visa fees lead to financial hardship for Indians affected by rejections. A report indicates that visa rejections resulted in a loss of ₹109 crore.

For Indian travel enthusiasts, Europe is the ultimate dream destination, particularly the Schengen area, which offers border-free movement for tourists, making travel hassle-free. Schengen visas enable travelers to explore over 29 European countries, including Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, and more. This provides a unique opportunity to experience the best of Europe in one trip. However, this dream is often thwarted by frequent visa rejections.

A burning desire to fulfill a bucket list.

According to a recent Schengen News report, Indian applicants experienced a substantial financial setback in 2023 during the lengthy visa process. Rejected Schengen visa applications led to a staggering loss of ₹109 crore (approximately €12.1 million). Despite the initial impression of affordability or convenience in visa application, the non-refundable visa fee imposes a significant financial burden on tourists. In case of rejection, all fees are lost without any possibility of refund. This situation is distressing and financially taxing, especially as visa costs continue to rise annually.

Each year, a significant number of Indian visa applications face rejection, thwarting aspirations of visiting Europe. Out of 966,687 visa applications submitted by Indians, 151,752 were denied. India now stands among the leading nations with the highest rates of Schengen visa denials. Last year alone, Schengen countries turned down 1.6 million visa applications, resulting in a total fee loss of ₹1,172 crore.

Last year, the following nationalities faced the highest number of Schengen visa rejections :

Turkish applicants : 169,514 visa rejections

Algerian applicants : 169,514 visa rejections

Indian applicants : 151,752 visa rejections

Moroccan applicants : 136,367 visa rejections

Chinese applicants : 60,554 visa rejections

Causes for visa denials

Visa officials cite several reasons for rejecting visa applications, including unclear travel purposes, incomplete documentation, inadequate proof of financial capacity for travel expenses, past visa violations, and unsatisfactory employment records.

Increase in visa fees

In recent years, visa fees have risen significantly. The European Commission introduced a 12% hike in Schengen visa prices, effective June 11, 2024, impacting all countries. Adult fees have increased from €80 (approximately Rs. 7000) to €90 (approximately Rs. 8000). For children aged 6 to 12, the fees have risen from €40 (approximately Rs. 3500) to €45 (approximately Rs. 4000).

Countries perceived as uncooperative in repatriating citizens may encounter steeper hikes, potentially leading to fees rising to €135 to €180 (approximately Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 16,000). This decision follows the scheduled review of EU visa fees in December 2023, conducted every three years under the Schengen Visa Code.

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