Schengen visa appeal

Schengen visa appeal is an institute that a Schengen visa applicant can use when having been denied Schengen visa or having had the visa application rejected. Schengen visa appeal needs to be furnished pursuant to the appeal law or local practice of the Schengen country which has rejected the visa application or denied the visa. In other words, the Schengen visa appeal is not governed by a central European policy, and individual countries have the freedom of establishing their own procedures and Schengen visa appeal methods.

Appeal Schengen visa denial or just reapply?

If the state at which you applied for Schengen visa has a Schengen visa appeal process in place, it is likely that new applications would not be even accepted before a certain period following the issuance of the visa refusal (usually 30 days). If the state has a process for Schengen visa appeal, then it makes sense to use it. Because a Schengen visa appeal is reviewed and decided by someone other than the person that issued the denial, there is a chance that the rejection or denial can be overturned by the Schengen visa appeal body.

Schengen visa appeal Schengen visa applicants are often pressured by time (for example by air plane tickets purchase before having visa), and a Schengen visa appeal may take weeks or even months to process. In case time is an issue, it might make more sense to reapply for visa instead of appealing the rejection or denial. A previous visa refusal shall not lead to an automatic refusal of a new application. A new application should be reviewed and assessed on the basis of all (new) available information.

Schengen visa application is not free, but submitting and processing a Schengen visa appeal should be free of charge. From the financial perspective, it may make more sense to submit a Schengen visa appeal instead of a new Schengen visa application.

Even though a previous visa refusal shall not lead to an automatic refusal of a new application, having the "visa denied" label in the visa information system does not look good. From this perspective, it is much better to get the visa denial removed from applicant's record, and a Schengen visa appeal is needed in this case.

Reasons for Schengen visa denial

Applicants have no right to Schengen visa. Schengen visa is issued voluntarily, and an applicant can be turned down for any reason (even the way an applicant looks can be the cause for visa denial). The issuing embassy or consulate is not required to provide a valid reason.

Reasons for Schengen visa appeal

Since embassies are not required to provide reason for rejecting, by submitting a Schengen visa appeal, the applicant might have a chance to pass the application decision on to a person with more welcoming view.

How the Schengen visa appeal process works

The following is a generalized description of how the Schengen visa appeal process usually works (when it is established in your country).

visa appeal In case a Schengen visa application has been rejected or the visa application denied, the Embassy should issue a document (letter) stating the reason for application refusal or visa denial. The reason for refusal or denial is not discussed with the officer that issued the refusal, but the case is passed on to a higher body (either a higher ranking official or a body governing the embassy, usually a ministry). This is called that the applicant may appeal against the decision (i.e. "Schengen visa appeal"). The address where to send the Schengen visa appeal should be mentioned in the letter that conveys the denial. The letter should also mention the deadline by which the applicant must submit his or her Schengen visa appeal (usually 30 days upon receiving the decision).

What happens after Schengen visa appeal

After the applicant submits his or her Schengen visa appeal, a higher-ranked officer responsible for dealing with Schengen visa appeals may either reverse the previous decision or forward the Schengen visa appeal to a higher instance. The higher instance will then make the final decision as to whether or not the previously issued denial was based on valid reasons or not.

The body deciding the Schengen visa appeal is not entitled to order the embassy to issue the visa, and the body deciding the Schengen visa appeal does not issue visa. If the visa denial is overruled, the case is returned for reconsideration. If the body deciding the Schengen visa appeal voids the denial, the embassy is required to make a new decision on the visa application taking into account the reasons provided in the appeal's body decision.

How do I write a Schengen visa appeal

visa appeal process Schengen visa appeal can take a form of a simple letter in which the applicant simply explains why he or she thinks his or her Schengen visa application has been rejected or denied wrongfully. There is no standard form for a Schengen visa appeal. It is necessary to explain in the Schengen visa appeal letter circumstances that support the case, circumstances that the applicant knows the rejecting embassy failed to consider and especially circumstances that had not been known to the rejecting embassy at the time of their rejection. The Schengen visa appeal letter must be signed by the applicant whose application has been rejected.

See here for a sample Schengen visa appeal letter:

   Schengen visa appeal PDF sample visa appeal (letter)

Schengen visa appeal usually must be submitted by the applicant in person or by a person representing the applicant under a written power of attorney from the applicant.

Schengen visa appeal process in selected countries

Country Schengen visa appeal deciding body Deadline by which a Schengen visa appeal must be filed (number of days from the notification of the visa denial)
Belgium Conseil du Contentieux des Etrangers 30
Denmark Ministry of Refugees (Immigration and Integration Affairs) no time limit
France Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Commission de recours contre les décisions de refus de visa d'entrée en France) 60
Germany Administrative Court in Berlin 30
Italy Administrative Regional Tribunal 60
Luxembourg Administrative Tribunal 90
Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Justice 30
Norway Directorate of Immigration (UDI) 21
Spain Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Madrid 30
Sweden the visa denying embassy 30
(Note: Deadlines are informative only. Check with your embassy and your denial letter!)

Questions about Schengen visa appeal

Schengen visa appeal is a difficult topic inducing many questions. You are welcome to ask your questions and discuss the Schengen visa appeal process in this discussion forum. You can find threads related to Schengen visa appeal for example here: how to make an appeal.

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