The European Union (EU) has categorically denied allegations of imposing Schengen visa restrictions on Turkish citizens, following widespread reports of long waiting times and processing delays.
In a statement, EU Ambassador to Turkey, Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, emphasized that the EU does not employ any policies aimed at preventing the issuance of Schengen visas to Turkish citizens.
While acknowledging the existence of long waiting times and delays, Ambassador Meyer-Landrut assured that the EU is actively working to address the problem. He attributed the delays primarily to the exceptionally high demand for visas and emphasized that the EU is committed to finding solutions and improving the situation.
The visa delays and waiting times have prompted Turkish citizens to explore alternative holiday destinations outside the EU and Schengen Area. Tour operators in Turkey expressed concerns about the growing trend of Turkish citizens opting for visa-free destinations, as visa rejections or significant delays could lead to the cancellation of travel plans for groups.
Despite the visa-related challenges, Turkey remains the largest source of Schengen visa applications. In 2022 alone, Turkish citizens submitted over 700,000 visa applications, surpassing the number of applications filed by Russian citizens. However, it is worth noting that the total number of visa applications from Turkish citizens in 2022 was significantly lower (55%) compared to the pre-pandemic level. Before the pandemic, Turkish citizens filed a staggering total of 16,955,541 Schengen visa applications.
According to recent data published by Schengen Visa Statistics, the highest number of applications from Turkish citizens in 2022 was filed at the consulates, embassies, and visa centers of Germany, followed by Greece and France.
Until Turkey reaches an agreement with the EU on visa-free travel, its citizens will continue to be required to obtain Schengen visas for travel purposes. The specific type of visa required depends on the purpose of travel to the EU, with Turkish citizens typically applying for Tourist Schengen Visas.
The EU and Turkey are committed to addressing the visa-related challenges faced by Turkish citizens and improving the overall visa application process to facilitate smoother travel to the EU.
By fLEXI tEAM