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Schengen Visa Rejection: Top 10 Countries with the Most Denied Applications

Source: TraveloBiz, 04/06/2024

Planning a European adventure? The Schengen visa unlocks travel across 26 countries, but getting approved can be a challenge. While rejection rates dipped slightly in 2023, some countries are stricter than others.
Travelling to Europe requires a Schengen visa, and some countries have higher rejection rates than others. In 2023, more than 1.6 million visa applications were denied, representing 15.8% of all requests filed.

Here’s a closer look at the top 10 countries with the highest Schengen visa rejection rates.
Countries with High Schengen Visa Rejection Rates

The data from the EU Commission reveals that the overall global Schengen visa rejection rate decreased slightly to 16% in 2023, compared to 17.9% in 2022 and 13.4% in 2021. The top five countries in the list alone accounted for 70% of all rejected visas, totalling 1.1 million denials. However, certain countries saw significant numbers of rejections:
1. France

Visa Applications Denied: 436,893
Rejection Rate: 16.6%

France tops the list of countries with the highest number of Schengen visa rejections. In 2023, the French authorities denied 436,893 visa applications, amounting to a rejection rate of 16.6%. Despite the high numbers, this is consistent with France’s position as the country receiving the most visa applications annually.
2. Spain

Visa Applications Denied: 251,000
Rejection Rate: 15%

Spain, a land of vibrant culture and stunning beaches, rejected a significant number of applications in 2023 �` a total of 251,000. While the rejection rate isn’t the highest (around 15%), it’s still something to consider when planning your trip.
3. Germany

Visa Applications Denied: 208,000

Germany, known for its efficiency, also implements a stringent visa process. In 2023, they rejected 208,000 applications. Ensure your paperwork is flawless and your itinerary is well-defined when applying for a German Schengen visa.
4. Italy

Visa Applications Denied: 133,000

The land of Coliseums and gondolas also has a reputation for visa rejections. Italy rejected 133,000 applications in 2023. Meticulously prepare your application to increase your chances of approval for that Italian adventure.
5. Netherlands

Visa Applications Denied: 114,000
Year-on-Year Increase: 61.9%

The Netherlands, famous for its canals and tulips, saw a significant jump in rejections in 2023. They rejected a whopping 114,000 applications, a 61.9% increase compared to 2022. Be extra prepared with a strong application if you plan to visit the Netherlands.
6. Greece

Visa Applications Denied: 91,000
Year-on-Year Increase: 61.5%

Greece, with its idyllic islands and ancient ruins, also saw a substantial increase in rejections (61.5%). They rejected 91,000 applications in 2023. Researching Greece’s specific visa requirements can significantly boost your chances of approval.
7. Switzerland

Visa Applications Denied: 64,000

Switzerland, the land of breathtaking landscapes, rejected 64,000 visa applications in 2023. While the rejection rate isn’t the highest, thorough preparation remains key for a successful Swiss visa application. Switzerland’s consistent position in the top 10 reflects its strict visa policies.
8. Sweden

Visa Applications Denied: 60,000

Sweden, known for its Viking heritage and stunning natural beauty, emerged as a new contender on the “most rejections” list in 2023. They rejected 60,000 applications. Ensure your application is complete and demonstrates a genuine travel itinerary for Sweden.
9. Belgium

Visa Applications Denied: 38,000

Belgium, the land of delectable chocolates and medieval architecture, also joined the ranks of countries with a higher number of rejections in 2023. They rejected 38,000 applications. A well-prepared application can significantly improve your chances of obtaining a Belgian visa.
10. Portugal

Visa Applications Denied: 33,000

Portugal, known for its stunning coastline and rich history, maintained its position as the country with the least rejections among the top 10. They rejected 33,000 applications in 2023. While Portugal seems slightly less strict, thorough preparation is still advised.

While some countries have higher rejection rates, visa applications are assessed individually. A strong application, a clear purpose for travel, and sufficient financial resources are crucial for approval in any Schengen country.

Significant Increases in Rejection Rates

The Netherlands recorded the highest year-on-year increase in rejected applications among the top 10, with a 61.9% jump from 70,000 to 114,000. Greece followed closely with a 61.5% increase. Sweden’s rejection numbers remained stable, with only a marginal rise of 28 applications.

France also saw a 6.9% increase in rejections, maintaining its position as the country with the highest number of applications and rejections.
Key Takeaways

The overall visa rejection rate for Schengen visas decreased slightly in 2023.
France remains the country with the most rejections, followed by Spain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.
Sweden and Belgium have entered the top 10 list for visa rejections.
The Netherlands experienced the highest year-on-year increase in rejections.


Navigating the Schengen visa application process can be challenging, especially with high rejection rates in these countries. Travellers should ensure their applications are thoroughly prepared to increase their chances of approval. Being aware of these statistics can help applicants better understand the complexities and demands of the Schengen visa process.

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