I was lucky to have all my visa applications approved by the embassies and I have a good understanding about how to convince you are a legit traveller and intend to leave the country.

My question is, what bad could happen if a visa application was rejected?

  • Do they seal the passport as my application was rejected? I understand each embassy has their own records, but they mark it in the passport?

  • Are there any known automatic rejections if I was rejected a visa for another country? All my applications to country B get rejected because my application to country A visa was rejected?

  • 2
    Just a helpful nitpick... Visas are REFUSED. 'Rejected' applications are generally not processed at all and returned to the applicant. I know there's a tag issue here on SO, but government sites are generally consistent, and search results can have better quality with the correct term. Google on 'Schengen visa refusal' and check the official correspondence.
    – Gayot Fow
    Nov 18 '14 at 12:46
  • 1
    Thanks @GayotFow. Yes it seems government sites tend to use refuse. I'm not a native English speaker but refuse seems more natural as we are actually making a request of some sort.
    – AKS
    Nov 18 '14 at 14:41

It can differ from country to country, and also depends on what visa you're applying for, and going into every country would be a book in itself, so I'll try and provide a general answer.

In general, countries that share information could share visa rejections. So travelling to country B, you may be flagged and asked questions about it.

Often, you have to sign a form indicating whether or not you were ever rejected for a visa to ANYWHERE, on any passport, current or present. The result of that may affect your application. For example, the US states that you'll most likely get a visa application denied if you've previously had a rejection.

I've had stamps for 'visa cancelled without prejudice' but that's different to being denied, it was simply to reissue a new visa. Again, they put a stamp in the passport.

As for a stamp in the passport for denials, yes, they will sometimes put a 'visa denied' stamp in your passport.

  • Thanks for this! The links are also helpful (and somewhat terrifying I'd say). I think I can also presume the positive side: the more stamps, particularly from countries with strict visa policies I have, the passport should have more "rep" and likely to be approved ;)
    – AKS
    Nov 18 '14 at 12:37
  • Well, sometimes ;) Some countries will note where you've been and hold it against you (eg if you have an Israel stamp). The joys of travel ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Nov 18 '14 at 12:43
  • Ah yes. I actually read a lot about the workarounds to this. Having a lot of stamps from Islamic countries can have negative effects to US visas I also read.
    – AKS
    Nov 18 '14 at 12:48
  • 2
    To nitpick a bit on first link — ESTA isn't visa, what article is saying is that previous denial likely makes it impossible to travel without visa (which is what ESTA / visa waiver program does). But for sure previous denials aren't helping with applying for US visa again. :(
    – Rarst
    Nov 18 '14 at 15:44
  • @pnuts KSA? Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?
    – Mark Mayo
    Aug 10 '15 at 13:11

To answer part of the question, and limiting my comments to one specific area, Schengen countries do place stamps in your passport during the application process so that a refusal would be visible to anybody who cares. Furthermore, they share information about visas and visa applications through a database so there would still be a record of any refusal, available to all consular posts of all partner countries (and not only to a single embassy) for some time, even if you immediately renewed your passport.

Legally speaking, a new application would not be automatically refused merely because a previous application – even an application to the very same country, let alone to another one – had been refused but only if it appears that you still do not meet the requirements (there is a separate database for bans, which do legally imply an automatic refusal, but bans are only imposed for serious violations or public policy reasons, not because you failed to meet the visa requirements once).

In principle, even with several refusals on your file, each new application should therefore be evaluated on its own merits but that does not mean consular officers will not look at your history so it's even more important to have a very strong application if you have been refused a visa before and to be especially careful to address all the issue and to highlight what changed in your situation to make you a more reliable applicant.

Of course, if your application is refused (or a visa you already have is cancelled) because you are suspected of fraud, it makes a big difference as your credibility would be seriously damaged. But technically it still isn't necessarily a reason to automatically refuse an application in and of itself. It's just a part of the whole picture consulates take into account to decide whether you are likely to violate the conditions of a new visa.

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