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I'm planning a trip to the Netherlands mid-April, and I've already made reservations. I understand that because of the current coronavirus pandemic, I may have to postpone my trip or cancel it entirely.

However, instead of deciding now, I'd like to decide later (in April) if I should continue with my trip plans or cancel it (depending on travel advisories issued by my country (India) and the Netherlands, which would apply at that time). Which requires that I proceed with my visa application now (as I must apply at least 15 working days earlier). I understand that it is quite likely that I may have to cancel or postpone my trip (the global travel situation seems unlikely to get better by next month, but I want to stay optimistic, or at least not regret that I could have applied for visa in March if situations in mid-April do get favourable for a trip).

My concern is if the current coronavirus pandemic can be cited as a reason for visa refusal by the Netherlands embassy. I.e., does the current pandemic increase the likelihood of visa refusal when compared to normal circumstances? Are there any rules in visa policy of Schengen Area that concern with situations like this?

UPDATE: To clarify, my concern here is if the current pandemic will increase the likelihood of visa refusal. (Whether or not I'll be able to travel to the Netherlands in April is a different issue). The reason I'm separating these two concerns is because with new EU visa rules, I may qualify for a long validity visa (as I've been issued multiple Schengen visas in past), so if in the unfortunate case I've to postpone my April trip, I can do so & re-plan on a much shorter notice. Whereas if I don't apply for a visa now and do so later, I'll have to plan for weeks in advance again (as I must apply for a visa 15 working days / 3 weeks in advance).

UPDATE: If the Netherlands issues a travel restriction in near future, will that result in a visa refusal or application rejection?

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    The rules and regulations for Schengen visas can be found here, page 76. ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/policies/…. One grounds on the checklist they can refuse you on is the applicant is considered to be a threat to public policy, internal security or public health or to the international relations of any of the Member States. I would say yes based on my judgment, likelihood of refusals definitely go up in these conditions. If you can postpone, the prudent thing to do is postpone. – user 56513 Mar 12 at 20:02
  • @user56513 Each applicant has the right to an individual assesment of his application, so I doubt that the 'public health' reason can be applied unless the individual itself imposes a health risk. Coming from an area with a higher risk of disease should in itself not be 'bad' enough to trigger that refusal reason. All Schengen countries will however have national infection protection legislation, which in severe situations can trump the Schengen Visa Code and be used to refuse entry. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Mar 12 at 22:22
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    Unless you are a frequent traveller, you are probably likely to get a single entry visa that is valid for a narrow duration around your proposed dates of the trip in your application, so it is quite likely you'll also have to reapply for the visa again later if you postpone.' – GoodDeeds Mar 12 at 22:25
  • Being in the Netherlands, I can see that April 2020 will not yet be a good month to travel. We are in a 'slow the spread of the virus down' phase, which will last till the end of March. In April we will still be in the middle of the mess. – Willeke Mar 13 at 5:10
  • @GoodDeeds I've updated my question based on your feedback. – Vikrant Mar 13 at 6:01
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There are restrictions in place, but AFAIK no current restrictions for Indian citizens/residents applying for Dutch visa. On the other hand, the Czech Republic closed their visa processing centers in China and Hong Kong several weeks ago, effectively preventing residents of China from applying for a Czech visa. It is at the moment difficult to predict what happens tomorrow or in the next days, but it is of course not impossible, that more Schengen countries will follow and impose restrictions on visa issuance.

Independent of the visa, it may also by mid-April be impossible to travel to the Netherlands. Several Schengen countries have today or in the past few days established very strict travel regulations or bans, effectively preventing many or most tourists and visitors from entering.

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As far as I can see, both in the Schengen Border Code and Visa Code Handbook, the term threat to public health is only applied against an applicant as reason not to grant a visa or entry (i.e. the applicant is the cause of the threat) .

In the scenario that the Schengen Area itsself poses a threat to public health (to which a visitor would count as someone being threatened), would be a valid reason not to let visitors enter or refuse to accept a visa application. But I could find no statement that explicitly states this.
The travel history of a visitor should not be disadvantaged by such a refusal.


Article 2 Definitions
...
21. ‘threat to public health’ means any disease with epidemic potential as defined by the International Health Regulations of the World Health Organization and other infectious diseases or contagious parasitic diseases if they are the subject of protection provisions applying to nationals of the Member States.
...

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No, from visa perspective, it won’t affect your case. However, there maybe some travel restrictions in-place.

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Whatever happens, if you apply right now, your chances of getting a visa will be best. If your application is rejected because of Coronavirus fears, that wouldn't be held against you in the future.

Obviously having a visa will not guarantee that you can enter the Netherlands. There might be no flights.

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