Schengen visa applicants in 2023 have encountered several challenges, creating frustrations among travellers from third countries. The most common issues include a limited number of appointment slots, short visa durations not aligning with travel plans, a high number of required documents, and processing delays.
Many applicants complain about the limited availability of appointment slots, leading to prolonged application processes. Some report difficulties securing appointments before February 2024, and there are allegations of slots being sold on the black market. The short duration of approved visas, often not aligning with travel itineraries, is another concern, with applicants facing inflexibility in adjusting plans. The complexity of gathering a large number of required documents is also noted, leading to challenges such as missing signatures and incomplete financial documentation. Additionally, applicants experience processing delays ranging from weeks to months, with some expressing dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency in decision explanations. Authorities acknowledge the surge in application volumes contributing to extended waiting periods, with some embassies implementing measures to address the high demand and expedite processing.
Limited Appointment Slots:
A significant number of Schengen visa applicants express frustration over the limited availability of appointment slots, with reports of slots being quickly taken, leading to delays in the overall application process. This issue is particularly acute in regions with high demand, prompting some to alter or cancel travel plans. There are complaints about appointments being sold on the black market, and applicants struggle to find available slots before February 2024.
Short Visa Durations:
Applicants highlight the inflexibility of the short periods for which visas are granted, often not aligning with the intended length of stay in the Schengen Area. This discrepancy forces applicants to adjust or cancel travel plans, causing inconvenience. The current Schengen Visa Code limits short-term visa holders to a maximum stay of 90 days in a 180-day period, leading to challenges for those with longer travel plans.
High Number of Required Documents:
Applicants report challenges related to the large number of required documents, leading to complexities in the application process. Some applicants share their experiences of investing time and money in acquiring documents, with one individual mentioning the purchase of a printer to accommodate the extensive documentation. Common pitfalls include missing signatures, incomplete financial documentation, and discrepancies discovered only after submission.
Many applicants face processing delays, waiting for decisions ranging from a few weeks to several months. Lack of transparency in decision explanations is cited as a concern, with applicants receiving insufficient information in cases of negative outcomes. Authorities attribute extended waiting periods to the surge in application volumes and assure that measures are in place to address the high demand.
While authorities acknowledge and address some of these issues, applicants continue to voice their concerns about the bureaucratic intricacies of the Schengen visa application system. The challenges underscore the need for ongoing improvements to streamline the application process and enhance the overall experience for travellers.
By fLEXI tEAM