A Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holders to travel in the Schengen area. It has become an alternative to many Nigerians denied visas to the UK, Canada, and the US.
Nigerians looking for better opportunities in Europe have utilized the visa over the years. Thousands were, however, unlucky last year as their visa received negative responses.
The Schengen area comprises 26 countries such as Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Compared to 2017, Schengen uniform visa denials increased the most in Ghana. Two years ago, Schengen embassies located in Ghana reported 11,505 were denied visas while in 2018, the number increased by 59 percent to 18,137 visa denials.
Nigeria and Ghana are not the only countries affected by visa denials. The report also showed that Schengen embassies in Africa were quite selective during 2018 regarding approval.
Algeria claimed the first spot as the African country whose citizens accounted for the highest number of visa denials. As many as 323,203 visa applicants from Algeria received a negative response following their visa application.
The report reads, “Statistics revealed that there was a 15 percent rise of visa denials in Algeria compared to 2017. While many factors could have played a role, illegal immigration in EU to which Algeria has been a major resource is thought to be the major driver that caused Schengen embassies to enforce a scrutinized visa policy to Algerian applicants.
“Other countries that followed in this list of denials were Morocco(116,498 denials), Tunisia(42,641 denials) and Sao Tope and Principe (29,686 denials).
According to the report, during 2018, more than 1.6 million Schengen uniform visas were issued to residents of African countries, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Based on official statistics collected from the EU Commission, more than 1.6 million uniform visas were issued to Africans during 2018.
With more than half a million approvals, Morocco tops the list of African countries whose citizens accounted for the highest number of Schengen uniform visa grants.
Exactly 528,608 uniform visa applicants from Morocco were granted a visa during 2018, based on the statistics.
Algeria was positioned second in this list, but with a major drop compared to 2017. According to statistics, during 2017, a number of 502,706 Algerian had been granted a uniform visa, while last year the figure stood at 382,360 uniform visa grants. In percentage terms, it meant that Schengen uniform visa grants in Algeria dropped by 24 percent between 2017 and 2018.
Other countries whose citizens also claimed a high number of Schengen visa approvals were South Africa (214,491), Tunisia (186,247) and Egypt (7,325).
The table below shows the list of five African countries where Schengen embassies issued the most uniform visas along with the number of denials.
African country Schengen visa approvals 2018 Annual change (%) Denied Visas 2018 Annual Change (%)
Morocco 528,608 +3 116,498 +24%
Algeria 382,360 -24% 323,203 +15%
South Africa 214,491 +7% 5,404 +26%
Tunisia 186,247 9% 42,641 +23%
Egypt 147,325 +8% 37,899 +23%