Visa rejections for Turkish citizens increase amid EU liberalisation talks

The number of Turkish citizens denied visas has tripled from 35,971 in 2014 to 169,514 in 2023, a sharp increase in recent years. During the same period, this increase has caused the denial rate to rise from 4.40% to 16.10%.

According to the Schengen Statistics Portal, the increase in visa refusals has led to a loss of over €619 million in visa application fees for Turkish applicants between 2014 and 2023. Turkey is the second largest source of applicants to the Schengen area, with €84 million worth of Schengen visas granted in 2023 alone.

Of the more than one million visa applications submitted by Turks last year, more than €68 million was paid for visas that were granted, while around 170,000 applications were rejected, costing €13 million. With 55,495 visa rejections, or 32.7% of the total, Germany was the country with the highest percentage of rejections, followed by Greece (21.3%) and France (19,586 rejections, or 11.5%).

Visa denials had different financial effects depending on the destination. At €4,439,600, Germany saw the largest loss in spending, followed by Greece at €2,888,960 and France at €1,566,880. Other countries, such as Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands, also suffered significant financial losses due to visa denials.

Schengen visa application fees will increase by 12% on June 11, 2024, bringing the total cost of €84 million to an expected €95 million in 2023. Concerned about the increase, Turkish officials have called for the complete abolition of visa requirements.

The approval rates of the Schengen member states varied considerably. Portugal topped the list with the highest approval rate (93.3%), followed by Slovakia (82.8%), Italy (91.1%), Poland (86.6%) and Spain (86.5%). In contrast, the lowest approval rates were recorded by Denmark, Estonia and Lithuania, with 55.8%, 57.5% and 63.9% respectively.

The spike in visa rejections underscores frustration among applicants and the potential need for policy changes as talks on visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens continue.

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