8

If you look at the statistics, there is quite a difference on refusal rates per country, where Belgium tops the list with 16% in 2012 and the Baltics refuse less then 1%. It is not that Belgium receives most of the requests.

Do different countries have different standards when assessing a Visa application?

9

The EU also publishes detailed statistics that might shed some light on this (Excel file for 2013).

For example, Belgium has a 5.5% refusal rate for its consulate in Moscow. It's still much higher than Estonia's rate (between 0.5% and 0.8%) but the difference is not nearly as dramatic as that between overall acceptance rates. At the same time, Estonia gets virtually all its visa applications from Russia, the Ukraine (which have agreements with the EU) or Belarus whereas Belgium gets quite a few applications from Congo (its former colony) and Morocco. Those consular posts have refusal rates of 30% and more and weight heavily in the overall rate.

It's all anecdotal but I do believe some consulates (including the Belgian one in Congo, which handles most applications for Schengen visas there through the “maison Schengen”) evaluate applications much more skeptically and are prepared to reject them on the tiniest pretense, possibly based on the (perhaps not entirely unfounded) assumption that most Congolese would consider immigrating illegally at the first opportunity.

Also note the very high proportion of multiple-entry visas for Estonia in Russia. This suggests either that Estonia is very generous indeed or that it mostly gets applications from trusted travelers with a regular need to cross the border. Those applicants can get a visa much more easily than people from far-away countries wanting to visit their family for the first time.

  • 1
    +1, the consular post is entitled to consider the national performance of an individual. The court confirmed this when it decided an appeal. The only reason your answer misses is the number of bogus agencies who represent but provide very low quality applications. The poorer (more illiterate) the country, the more bogus agencies. I suggest adding it to your already nice answer. – Gayot Fow Oct 2 '14 at 15:17
1

Based on what I have seen with friends in Thailand who have applied for Schengen visas, yes there seem to be different standards applied. Some countries seem much looser with issuing visas, while others require the applicant to jump through more hoops to qualify.

And who is applying could affect the statistics, as some countries could be more popular targets for folks coming from less likely to be approved countries.

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