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The allure of exploring the enchanting streets of Paris, savoring authentic pasta in Rome, or witnessing the breathtaking Northern Lights in Iceland is a dream that many travelers share. The Schengen Area, comprising 26 European countries, offers a passport to this dream, allowing visa holders to freely traverse its borders and experience the rich cultural tapestry it has to offer. However, for countless hopeful travelers, the path to obtaining a Schengen visa can be a rocky one, fraught with uncertainties and potential pitfalls.

Schengen visa rejections can be a disheartening setback, causing not only financial losses but also shattering the dreams of embarking on a European adventure. The Schengen visa application process is renowned for its strict regulations and rigorous scrutiny, leaving little room for error. To increase your chances of success and avoid the disappointment of rejection, it’s crucial to be well-informed about the common reasons why Schengen visas are denied and how to steer clear of them.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of the Schengen visa application process, shed light on the most frequent grounds for rejection, and equip you with valuable insights and tips to help you navigate this challenging journey successfully. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a cultural expedition, or a business trip, understanding these common pitfalls and their avoidance strategies will be your key to unlocking the wonders of the Schengen Area. So, let’s embark on this journey together and ensure that your Schengen visa application is met with approval and opens the doors to your European dreams.

Common Reasons For Schengen Visa Rejection & Avoidance

Here, you will find the typical visa rejection letter, known as the “Standard form for communicating and providing reasons for visa refusal, annulment, and revocation.”

1. Falsified Passport or Travel Documents

Official reason – “A false/counterfeit/forged travel document was presented“.

Submitting a “false/counterfeit/forget travel document” means using fake passports, travel itineraries, hotel bookings, flight bookings, insurance, etc (because each of them relates to a travel document). For example, using a fake passport can result in a permanent ban from entering the Schengen Region and can be seen as a criminal act in many countries.

How to address this issue – This advice may seem obvious, but it’s crucial: do not attempt to apply for a Schengen Visa using counterfeit passports or any other fraudulent travel documents. Visa officials are extensively trained to spot and identify fake travel documents, making it a risky and ill-advised endeavor.

2. Unclear travel purpose & conditions 

Official reason – “Justification for the purpose and the conditions of the intended stay was not provided”.

Visa officers require a clear understanding of your intentions for traveling to the Schengen Region.

If your visa application was denied for this reason, it indicates that you needed to provide sufficient evidence regarding your travel purpose and the conditions of your trip.

Irrespective of your motive for entering the Schengen Region, substantiating it is essential.

For instance, merely thinking, “I need to travel for medical treatment, so they should grant me a visa,” is insufficient. Visa officers can only ascertain your need for medical treatment if you furnish supporting evidence.

How to address this issue – Even if you have submitted a comprehensive application form, flight reservations, accommodation details, and proof of financial means, these elements alone may not adequately justify your travel purpose.

Are you planning to visit a close relative there? In that case, you’ll need to prove your claim by providing an invitation letter and additional documents showing your degree of kinship (even if your relative does not offer accommodation and you have hotel reservations).

Alternatively, if your purpose is tourism, you should provide a thorough and authentic day-to-day travel itinerary outlining all your planned activities during your stay within the Schengen Area.

It is imperative to submit all the necessary documents that can substantiate the reason for your visit to the Schengen Region, even if some of these documents are labeled as optional (as optional documents can provide supplementary evidence of your travel purpose).

Additionally, substantiating your purpose for traveling to the Schengen Region necessitates providing a comprehensive set of documents.

For example, if you require medical treatment, merely presenting a document indicating a specific illness wouldn’t suffice to justify your entry into the Schengen Region (you must also include an invitation letter from a hospital located in a Schengen country).

3. Not enough means of subsistence

Official reason – “You have not provided proof of sufficient means of subsistence, for the duration of the intended stay, or for the return to the country of origin or residence, or for the transit to a third country into which you are certain to be admitted, or you are not in a position to acquire such means lawfully”. 

In this case, there are two options available:

  • You didn’t submit enough documents proving that you have enough funds to travel – For example, you didn’t submit all of your employment documents or documents such as your bank statements of the last 6 months or the bank statements of your sponsor.  
  • You actually proved that you do not have enough money to travel – For example, you submitted all of the required documents but your documents show that you do not have enough money to cover all of your expenses while staying in the Schengen Area. 

How to avoid this – First, you must ensure that you do not miss any important documents that bring evidence of your means of subsistence (no matter if you pay for your trip by yourself or you have a sponsor). 

Secondly, you must ensure that you actually have enough money to travel. The minimum amount you must have in your account for each day spent through the Schengen Region varies by country. 

However, as a general rule, you must prove that you have at least 60 EUR per day (this excludes the amounts you need to pay for hotels, flights, insurance, etc). 

In addition, you have to show proof of financial capacity to that (or your sponsor) can support your expenses for the whole duration of your travel.

    • For sponsored travel: Your host or sponsor declares that he or she will be solely responsible for all expenses incurred during your trip.
    • For those traveling without a sponsor: this means that you will cover all your expenses during the entire duration of your travel.
      • Bank statements – must show records of the past six months. A bank statement shows your transactions in your account at a specific period. It will show debits (withdrawals, payments, taxes, service fees) and credits (deposits, interest earned.) Bank Statements can also be seen online especially if you have a registered account. There is no signature for the manager or a bank officer.
      • Bank Certificate – it is a confirmation by the branch manager or a bank officer that you have an existing account in their bank. It shows the account number, the type, and other details such as the opening date of your account, your account balance as of the date of request, and your average daily balance. 
      • Other proof of income (supporting documents) – although it is not really required, you can submit invoices and pay slip equivalent to prove that you earn enough to support this trip financially. 

If you maintain a bank account for a long time, better maintain it. Kahit na may sponsor ka, of course, plus points pa din sa visa application mo if idadagdag mo din bank statements mo, payslips from our employer, and other proof na financially capable ka din and most importantly, it proves deep rootedness as well.

Sponsorship Letter which should state the fact that he/ she is inviting you to come over, your relationship with each other, and that he/ she is willing to sponsor you during your trip. Of course, it needs to have documentary proof. 

The sponsor’s copies of: passport including the biodata page and travel history (passport stamps) and ID Card or Resident ID card

Recent proof of income of the sponsor (3 last months’ salary slips, etc.)

Proof of relationship with the sponsor (pictures together, Birth or Marriage certificate, and screenshot of chat conversations)

To know more about additional requirements that you would need from your sponsor, check out my YouTube video below:

4. Breaking the 90/180-day rule 

Official reason – “You have already stayed for 3 months during the current 6-month period on the territory of the Member States on the basis of a Uniform Visa or a Visa with Limited Territorial Validity”

Both the Uniform Schengen Visa, which is the most common type, and the Limited Territorial Validity Visa, a less common type that restricts your travel to the issuing Schengen country or specific countries you specify, permit you to stay for a maximum of 90 days within the Schengen Region over a 6-month period, as governed by the “90/180 rule.” 

To put it differently, with a multiple-entry visa, you can enter and exit the Schengen Region as frequently as you desire within a six-month timeframe, as long as your cumulative stay in the Schengen countries does not exceed 90 days.

If you have already spent 90 days in the Schengen countries within the current 6-month period, but your visa remains valid (meaning the 6-month period has not elapsed), you cannot request a new visa.

How to avoid this – If you have already spent three months within the Schengen Region in the past six months, embassies and consulates will not grant you another visa. To avoid the hassle of preparing a new application that will ultimately be rejected on these grounds, it is advisable to keep track of the number of days you’ve spent in the Schengen countries within the last six months. You can also utilize a Schengen Visa calculator to assist you in this calculation.

5. An alert was issued on your name

Official reason – “An alert has been issued in the Schengen Information System (SIS) for the purpose of refusing entry by (indication of Member State)”.

The Schengen Information System (SIS) serves as a vital tool for European countries in matters of security and border management.

This system empowers competent authorities, including national border control, police, customs, judiciary, visa, and vehicle registration authorities, to both input and access alerts regarding individuals or items.

When an SIS alert is associated with a person or object, it signifies that it poses a potential threat to the safety and security of European nations.

For instance, alerts within the SIS may pertain to individuals or items involved in activities linked to terrorism. Additionally, return decisions and entry bans are part of the information shared within the system to enhance their effective enforcement.

How to avoid this – Unless you possess a criminal record or encounter unfavorable circumstances related to your Schengen Visa history, your visa application should not be declined on these grounds.

Nonetheless, in the regrettable circumstance of your application being rejected due to these reasons, and if you find yourself unaware of why the Schengen Information System (SIS) has issued an alert in your name, you may be a victim of identity theft.

However, it is essential to start by gaining insight into what the SIS database contains about you.

6. You are considered a threat to the Member States

Official reason – “One or more Member State(s) consider you to be a threat to public policy, internal security, public health as defined in Article 2(19) of Regulation EC No 562/2006 (Schengen Borders Code), or the international relations of one or more of the Member States”.

First of all, according to Article 2(19) of Regulation EC No 562/2006, being a threat to public health means having “any disease with epidemic potential as defined by the International Health Regulations of the World Health Organisation and other infectious diseases or contagious parasitic diseases if they are the subject of protection provisions applying to nationals of the Member States”.

Being a threat to public policy and internal security also means having a past or current criminal record. 

Also, you can be considered a threat to public policy if you have submitted fake or false documents for a previous Schengen Visa application or you have attempted deceit (for example, you attempted to misrepresent your identity). 

How to avoid this – In an ideal scenario, you should not be considered for any reason a threat to public policy, internal security, or public health when applying for a Visa. Otherwise, you risk your application being rejected. 

However, if you suffer from any infectious or contagious disease, you should wait for the disease to be cured before applying for your Visa.

If you have a criminal background or you have submitted fake documents to a Schengen Embassy/Consulate previously, you can try applying for a Visa but you should be aware of the high risk of being rejected. 

7. Valid travel medical insurance missing

Official reason – “Proof of holding an adequate or valid travel medical insurance was not provided”.

Having valid and adequate travel medical insurance is extremely important when applying for a Schengen Visa. 

Any mistake concerning your Schengen travel insurance will automatically lead to the rejection of your application.

How to avoid this – Make sure you get travel medical insurance valid for the Schengen Region that includes covers for at least 30,000 EUR. 

Also, your insurance must cover the entire period you plan to spend within the Schengen Region, including the day of arrival and the day of departure. I highly recommend Pioneer Insurance which you can avail yourself through me. Feel free to directly inquire through JASTravel on Facebook and I would be very glad to assist you. 

8. Inconsistent information

Official reason – “The information submitted regarding the justification for the purpose and the conditions of the intended stay was unreliable “.

Typically, such cases include four different situations: 

    • You have provided conflicting statements regarding the purpose of your stay within the Schengen Region. For instance, the information you provided during the visa interview to the consulate officers did not align with the purpose and conditions of stay as outlined in your documents. As an illustration, if you submitted a day-to-day travel itinerary demonstrating your intent to travel solely for tourism, yet during the interview, you stated to the Embassy/Consulate officers that your purpose was to visit a close relative, this inconsistency could lead to a visa rejection.
    • There are discrepancies evident in your documents, such as inconsistencies in travel dates or other forms of conflicting information. For instance, if you present reservations for luxury 5-star hotels while your bank statements show that you possess only the minimum required funds for daily expenditures during your trip, your application may face rejection due to these inconsistencies.
    • The documents on the purpose of your trip and the terms of your stay could not be verified. For example, while Embassies/Consulates accept reservations for hotels and flights that do not necessitate full upfront payment, the consulate officers should be able to confirm the legitimacy of your reservations. Employing a fake hotel and flight reservation generator to fabricate these reservations and submit them to the Embassy/Consulate is unacceptable.
    • You have submitted documents that do not adhere to specific guidelines. For instance, the employment documents you provided lack official letterhead, stamps, or signatures, or they were issued a considerable time before the application date. Such deviations from the prescribed standards may contribute to the rejection of your application.

How to avoid this – Make sure that all of your documents show consistency (we highly recommend you double-check to see if all of the information on your documents matches). 

Also, the most effective approach to maintain consistency when submitting documents and during the visa interview is to be fair about your travel objectives. There’s no need to conceal any details regarding the purpose and terms of your trip.

It is also crucial not to present counterfeit documents. For instance, if you cannot obtain genuine payslips or salary statements from your employer for any reason, it is highly discouraged to submit fake salary slips. Visa officers possess a keen eye for detecting any irregularities that could result in your visa application being rejected.

If you encounter difficulties in obtaining certain requested documents, such as the payslips mentioned earlier or the Income Tax Return that you may not have submitted to your government tax authority or local tax agency on time, consider alternative ways to demonstrate the purpose of your Schengen trip and your intention to return to your country of residence by submitting other legitimate documents. Visa officers are primarily interested in ascertaining your sincere intentions to return home rather than scrutinizing whether you’ve paid all your taxes. While it’s ideal to provide all the required documents, an application with a missing document (due to genuine inability to obtain it) is preferable to one containing forged documents.

Regarding your hotel and flight reservations, ensure that you furnish authentic bookings. It’s also advisable to verify the validity of the confirmation number for your reservations, as visa officers rely on this number to authenticate their genuineness. Occasionally, errors can occur during the booking process for a hotel room or flight ticket, resulting in an invalid confirmation number. This could lead visa officers to question the authenticity of your reservations and potentially reject your visa application.

9. Rootedness not ascertained 

Official reason – “Your intentions to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the Visa could not be ascertained “.

This is perhaps the most common reason for a Schengen Visa denial. 

If your Visa has been rejected for this reason it means that you did not provide enough evidence of your intentions to return back to your country of residence. 

In these cases, Visa officers are trained to make an accurate “return prediction” when processing applications. 

Typically, you can bring evidence of your genuine intentions to return to your country of residence (or your “rootedness”) by proving:

  • Your family ties (for example, showing that you have a spouse, children, or relatives that you must take care of in your country of residence)
  • Your professional binding (a stable job in your country of residence)
  • Your economic bond (regular income from rents or reals estate assets in your country of residence)

Bear in mind that if you did not use a Schengen Visa in the past properly (for example, you overstayed in the Schengen Region) this may be considered proof of your intentions of staying in the Schengen Region illegally and, as a result, your application may be rejected. 

How to avoid this – First, do not overstay in the Schengen Region if you want to get a new Schengen Visa in the future.

Secondly, you’ll need to bring evidence of your genuine intentions to return to your country (for example, you can prove that you have a family that you must take care of in your country of residence, a stable job, or properties of any kind. Or, if you are a student, you must prove that you intend to return to your country of residence and finish your studies). 

  • Evidence of your rootedness in the Philippines – Evidence of deep-rootedness a.k.a. strong family and social ties to your home country, is one of the most critical requirements when applying for a Schengen Visa. It is what the Consul will look for in your visa application. So how do you prove that you are firmly established in the Philippines and that you will go back to your home country?

You need to convince them that you will return to the Philippines. Insufficient evidence of deep-rootedness to your home country is also one of the chief reasons for visa denial.

    • For Employees: 
      • Employment or Work contract and bank account statements or payslips showing the transfer of your last six-monthly salaries 
      • Certificate of Employment which should include the employer’s full name, complete address, telephone number with area code, details regarding the position, income, and employment duration
      • Approved letter of approved leave signed by your employer (Leave of Absence letter)
      • Optional: Signed No Objection Certificate which states that your employer has no objection for you to travel to Slovakia and that they have approved your leave request
      • Most recent Income Tax Return 2316 (ITR) 
      • Optional Supporting Documents:
        › Government Mandated Contributions – SSS, Pag-ibig, Philhealth Contributions
        › If with existing loan – SSS Loan or Pag-ibig Salary loan
    • For Self-Employed:
      • DTI Business Name Registration Certificate
      • Barangay Business Clearance
      • Mayor’s Business Permit from your Municipality where the business address has been registered
      • Business activity of your company for the last 6 months – invoices and bank transactions
      • Most recent Income Tax Return 2316 (ITR)
    • For Retirees: 
          • Pension statement for the last 6 months
          • Retirement Certification
    • Others (No work, No Business, etc.): Family as Proof of Rootedness:
          • For Solo parents:
            › A copy of your birth certificate- PSA Authenticated
            › A copy of your child/children’s birth certificate- PSA Authenticated
            › Solo parent ID
            › Barangay Certification as Solo parent
            › Notarized Affidavit of Solo Parent with Undertaking
            › Money remittances to support your dependents
          • For those who are supporting or watching over the health/well-being of the family:
             A copy of my parent’s birth certificates- PSA Authenticated
            › If parents are already Senior Citizens: a copy of their Senior Citizen ID and Barangay Certification as Senior Citizens
            › If parents have sickness/ illness: Medical history of parents (diabetes, hypertension, etc.)
    • Property Titles: if you have some, the following are accepted.
          • Land titles
          • Car registration certificates
          • Deeds of Sale

    • For Minors
          • Joint affidavit of both parents or legal guardians granting consent
          • Photocopies of the passports of both parents or legal guardians
          • Birth certificate of the minor. Must be recent, original, and issued by PSA.
          • DSWD Clearance, if the minor is not traveling with either parent or legal guardian
          • Recent certificate of enrollment from the school
          • Letter authorizing the student’s absence from school

10. Wrong Schengen Visa timeframe

Official reason – “Sufficient proof that you have not been in a position to apply for a visa in advance, justifying application for a visa at the border, was not provided .”

Suppose your Schengen Visa was declined due to insufficient proof that you did not apply for a visa at the appropriate time. In that case, it signifies that you may have yet to choose the optimal moment to submit your visa application.

It’s worth noting that the New Visa Code, which was implemented on February 2nd, 2020, provides specific guidelines for the timing of your Schengen Visa application submission:

    • You should not apply more than 6 months before your intended travel date to the Schengen Region (the earliest permissible date).
    • Your application should be submitted no later than 15 working days before your planned travel date to the Schengen Region (the latest allowable date).

Hence, if you submit your application more than 6 months in advance of your intended travel date (unless you have a compelling reason to do so), your application may face rejection.

Additionally, during your border crossing into a Schengen country, border control authorities will verify certain documents that you submitted when you applied for your visa. Failure to provide all the required documents at the border could result in the border control authorities prohibiting your entry into the Schengen Territory and potentially leading to the annulment or revocation of your visa.

How to avoid this – First of all, make sure that you apply for your Visa no more than 6 months before the date when you plan to travel to the Schengen Region. And also, not less than 15 working days before the date when you plan to travel to the Schengen Region, otherwise you are at the risk of not receiving your Visa on time.

Also, when crossing the border to enter a Schengen country, you must carry with you all of the relevant documents concerning your trip, such as your passport (make sure you do not misplace it while travelling to the Schengen Region), proof of means of subsistence (for example, your account statements or any other proof of means of subsistence that you submitted to the Schengen Embassy/Consulate), travel insurance, flight and hotel reservations (or any other proof of transport and accommodation – make sure you have the return ticket as well), and any other relevant documents concerning your trip. 

11. You requested the Visa revocation

Official reason – “Revocation of the Visa was requested by the Visa holder”. 

You are allowed to request the revocation of your Visa if you want to avoid traveling anymore (or you do not want to travel on the planned date). 

For example, you can ask the revocation of your Visa if you have changed your mind and you want to travel within a few months from the moment you have received the Visa that you want to revoke (because a short-stay Visa is valid for a 6-month period and can have a maximum 90 days duration of stay, meaning that if you do not revoke your Visa and you travel 4 or 5 months after you have received your current Visa you may have a short Visa validity period left).

Also, Embassy/Consulates do not allow you to make major changes to your travel plans, meaning that you should travel within the period that you have declared when applying for your Visa. 

Final Thoughts

Just in case your Schengen visa application has been denied, and you find yourself facing disappointment and uncertainty about your European travel plans, keep hope! In many cases, there is a chance to appeal the decision and provide additional information that might sway the authorities in your favor. Writing a well-structured and persuasive appeal letter is your opportunity to make a strong case for reconsideration.

Recap and Tips

So, just a recap and a reminder, please don’t forget these TIPS: 

If you ever need help, you can avail my visa application bundle, and I will be glad to help you through the process!

Let Us Be Your Partner in Your Schengen Visa Journey

Applying for a Schengen Visa can be overwhelming, with all the paperwork involved and confusing information from different sources. We understand that—we’ve been there and have done that!

But through the years, we gained experience and knowledge on the ins and outs of the Schengen Visa application. We’ve helped countless satisfied clients; we would like to invite you to be one of them!

With our Schengen Visa services personalized to your unique needs and circumstances, we will make your visa application less stressful and laborious and more promising. Contact us to schedule a consultation or for other inquiries.

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