Common reasons why visa applications can be denied

  • visa application denied
Published on 2022-11-28 at 10:00 by Asaël Häzaq
In 2021, France was the country in the Schengen area that rejected the most visa applications from Algerian nationals (32 000 applications). It was also the country that accepted the most (44,032 applications). The reason for this increase in the number of refusals is essentially political. France decided to reduce the number of visas granted to Algerians in response to Algeria's refusal to take back its nationals who were staying illegally in France. 

Apart from this particular case, which is beyond the applicant's responsibility, what can be done to avoid visa denials?

What are the common reasons behind a visa denial? 

The purpose of the trip is not clear, or the visa applied for is not the right one

There's a long list of necessary visas that allow entry into a specific territory. There's the work visa, study visa, the WHV (Work Holiday Visa), family reunification visa, research visa, entrepreneur visa, tourist visa, etc. Choosing the right visa may seem direct and simple, but no one is safe from making a mistake. Make sure you apply for the visa that corresponds to your situation. If you are asked for the reason for your trip, your answer should be clear beyond any doubt. You must also provide a specific address of residence. Not knowing where you will be staying can make consular services dubious.

New rules since Covid - missing documents

Since Covid, some countries have introduced new rules for visa applications. For example, if you want to go to Japan on a WHV, you will have to obtain a Uketsuke Zumisho (Certificate for Completion of Registration to the ERFS system). To obtain it, you must contact your "host or sponsor in Japan". Since Covid, some states also require Covid-19 insurance.

Submitted documents are not acceptable

Beware of mistranslated documents. Immigration authorities will not accept documents that have been mistranslated and/or have errors. For better chances, use certified translation agencies. They are more reliable. If your documents are poorly translated or if the administration has doubts about their authenticity, your visa application is likely to be rejected. Besides, if your documents are forged, you may be banned from entering the country where you applied for your visa.

The travel insurance certificate is missing

The travel insurance certificate covers your health expenses and possible repatriation. This document is different from the Covid-19 insurance. Be careful to respect the format and procedures required by the consular services. The authorities may ask you for a physical document, or they may simply refuse your visa application.

Too many visa applications in a short lapse of time

If you have stayed in a Schengen country for 3 months in the last 6 months, you must wait another 6 months before applying for another visa. More generally, applying for visas in a short lapse of time is not well perceived by the consular authorities. They might have doubts about the reasons for your travels.

You are under judicial investigation

Unsurprisingly, if you are or have been the subject of legal proceedings, you may be denied a visa. In fact, the legal proceedings themselves may require you to remain in your home country. Consular officials may believe that you pose a threat or may be a source of public disturbance. 

You are unable to prove that you can meet your needs financially

You (or, where applicable, your host) must be able to cater for your need throughout your stay in the chosen country. The minimum budget requested varies from country to country. Check with the authorities of the country you wish to travel to, and plan on having more than the mandatory minimum.

Reasons for student visa denial

In addition to the general reasons for denial listed above, the host country may deny your visa application if you do not have proof of admission from a state-approved educational institution. The consular services will also review your application to ensure that it is sound and serious. If they consider your background to be inconsistent with your application, they may deny you a visa. 

Reasons for denial of a WHV

Just like the student visa, there are other reasons for refusing a WHV in addition to the general reasons mentioned above. You may be denied a WHV if your program is not clear enough. The purpose of the WHV program is to prove that you have sufficient funds to live for a year without working and that you understand the balance between holidays and work. A program with too many working hours could be seen as a "work visa in disguise". 

How can you avoid the risk of visa denial?

Make sure you have all the mandatory documentation requested by the consular services, in the right format, with the right dates. If you are asked for instance, for a document that is less than 6 months old, do not provide an older one. Be prepared to provide all the evidence that immigration may request, especially concerning your financial resources. Take the time to fill out your application, and be patient.

What if your visa application is still refused?

The consular services issue two types of denials: express denial and implicit denial. In the first case, they explain the reasons for the denial. In the second case, they are not bound to provide an answer. Concerning France, since November 1, 2016, one can contest the refusals within two months either through a courtesy letter or by referring to an Appeals Commission.