I am a Kenyan citizen. I applied for a Schengen visa, via the Swedish embassy, for visiting friends and family. I got my results today and I was denied the visa.

I am a student, I will be done with my studies this month. The person who invited me (my boyfriend) was to cater for everything while I visited him.

I was denied a visa on the following grounds:

  1. Justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay was not provided

I clearly wrote in my written statement that I was going to see my man, what we would do etc.

  1. Your intention to leave the territory of the member states before the expiry of the visa could not be ascertained

I am not employed, but I am a student and I gave a letter from school. I have a small clothing business whereby I sell items online. I did not know how to give proof of this as I do not have any tax returns on it, or business registration because it is a very small business, just something to give me some extra income as I study.

I also provided the following documents:

  • I gave my bank statements, having opened a bank account just because of applying (I did not have an account before)

  • I gave a lease agreement letter for the apartment I stay in

I would like to re-apply asap because appealing is a waste of time

How can I improve my case above?

Kindly assist I know the rules for visa application is the same everywhere so there must be somebody here who has the knowledge and will be able to help me correct any mistakes that I might have made.

Extra information:

  • My boyfriend is a Swedish citizen, born and raised. He did send an invitation with proof of income and everything, also stated that he was going to sponsor my stay and that I was going to stay with him.

It is very hard for somebody from a third world country to be approved a visa but not everybody who lives there wants to break the rules of another country so that they can become illegal immigrants.

  • Also, no, we will not have babies or get married just so that I can get a visa. Relationships don't work that way.

  • Also,we have decided to appeal but with extra documentation i.e:

    1. A new extended lease agreement
    2. I will enroll for an extra course at my university
    3. I'm having my parents write letters also stating they will offer any financial assistance I may need (in case of any emergency), my friends and neighbour as well (to prove social and family ties in Kenya as that was also an issue)
    4. M-pesa statements<<--(the reason I never had a bank account before is because in Kenya we have something called m-pesa which is a mobile 'phone money transfer and savings service, so I conducted all my transactions there.
    5. Receipts for the sales I made in my business.

Will that improve my chances?

I am not planning on overstaying my visa. I never was and never will be. A visa to visit my boyfriend is listed under visa for friends and family.

P.S the new lease will be for 1 year. The new course will require graduation after my trip i.e when I get back because I'm planning on being back by January as classes will be in session - also since I'll be applying for internship, so need to be back early.

And, I do have a return flight booked.

  • 13
    Thank you for this wonderful question. Being from a developed nation, I have always viewed visas as being an unnecessary bureaucracy which is always approved. The answers here have opened my eyes as to א) the reasons for having visas, and ב) how privileged I am that they are always granted.
    – dotancohen
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 16:42
  • 8
    @dotancohen That reminds me of the time I was talking with an Indian friend of mine who said his visa to go to Italy had been approved. "Visa? Don't you just show up with your passport?" and he replies "Sure, if you're an American!" - I didn't realize that most countries' citizens have to ask first... I felt naive, to say the least.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 23:06
  • 3
    @corsiKa - even Americans needs to get a visa before traveling to some countries. India is a prime example. Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 3:33
  • 5
    "Also, no, we will not have babies or get married just so that I can get a visa. Relationships don't work that way." Some do.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 18:43
  • 5
    @thinlyveiledquestionmark No, it's not. She can have that opinion about her own individual relationship, but immigration officials know that some relationships work that way.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 14:10

6 Answers 6


Long term ties to your homeland

There are multiple obvious reasons why your visitor visa was declined - you fail to prove that you can't possibly have any intention in staying in Sweden, and a number of factors indicate such a risk.

You need to demonstrate serious long-term ties to your homeland, and lack of such ties to Sweden; you need to show that you have good things back home so that any reasonable person would want to return back.

Let's take a look at your situation:

  • Student but studies finishing before the trip - a negative factor; middle of studies where you must return to get a degree would help, but not this. Graduated & looking for job is a risk factor, you'd need to prove that you can't possibly intend to do that in Sweden (and the only good way to prove that is to show a superior job that you already have).
  • Boyfriend in Sweden - a serious negative factor, signals a possibility of immigrating;
  • Source of income - online business; something that could be run from Sweden as well - a negative factor as it's not a stable long-term carreer that would motivate to come back to Kenya. It's also a possible violation of visa terms, generally if you'd be working (incl doing stuff to run your online business) from the host country then that's not allowed under a visiting friends&family visa.

What could be a favorable situation for your next application:

  • Demonstrate long-term commitment to studies in Kenya - enrollment (or at least an application) to some further studies there.
  • Demonstrate long-term commitment to work in Kenya - a good-sounding job that binds you to Kenya; self-employment won't demonstrate that.
  • Demonstrate long-term commitment to live in a particular place in Kenya - preferably real estate and housing loan/mortgage that would show a financial interest to live in that place for many years.
  • Demonstrate long-term commitment to live with particular people in Kenya - show strong ties to people who live there and aren't coming to Sweden; marriage and children are the most common option, but being a primary caregiver to incapacitated relatives also works well. Being the sole earner does not - it's an additional risk as some people illegally move to wealthier countries in order to support their relatives financially from there.

All those things are hard to do because they, well, require you to take on long-term commitments and they do limit your options for the future, namely, make it practically difficult for you to decide to relocate to another country. That's the whole point.

If you're young and free and with nothing binding you down - then you could actually live in Sweden as well as in Kenya, and they won't give you a tourist visa because of that.

If you do want to live in Sweden, then you can attempt to get a different kind of visa, but the conditions are completely different then.


CGCampbell has provided a good answer. It is likely that you will not be granted a Schengen visa (that is what you are applying for, there's no Swedish visa) because your situation is precisely the one where governments often deny visas - you are from a less developed country, cannot show a source of income, and cannot show strong ties to your home country.

If you are traveling to Sweden on a visa, you are generally required to show at least 450 SEK (about 60 USD) for each day you will be staying in the country. That from the Swedish Migration Board. It also says it's possible to travel with a lower amount of money if someone will be providing for your needs.

There is one possibility for you, which is that your boyfriend completes and provides an invitation to Sweden on your behalf. It's described on this page, still in Swedish, but you can see the form. Scroll down to where it says Blanketter, and the second link shows the invitation form in English. Here's the page in English, it says the same thing as in Swedish. The procedure is such: the person in Sweden (your boyfriend) completes the form and sends it along with the necessary documentation to you. You then enclose all of that with your visa application at the Swedish consulate or embassy.

In the case of an invitation, your boyfriend would be required to guarantee that he is paying for your stay, and also show sufficient income. His legal status in Sweden, which you have not provided in your question, is critical here. If he's not a resident of Sweden, it will essentially be impossible for him to send an invitation (it doesn't say so directly anywhere, but the form requires a personal identity number, which only residents have, and it wouldn't be possible to get the other required documents from the tax agency without being a resident). If he is a resident of Sweden, and provably has enough money (which means he has a job or can show a bank statement with a fairly significant sum of money), then it might help you.

If your boyfriend cannot provide such an invitation for financial or residency reasons, it is extremely unlikely you would be granted a visa from a repeat application or appeal. If such an invitation can be provided, it still does not guarantee you a visa because there is no strong proof, given what you described, of you intending to leave the Schengen area.

UPDATE given the edit

  • Your boyfriend being a Swedish citizen is good news for your visa. The fact that he already sent the invitation and stated he'd support you is bad news - if they rejected your application with his invitation, there is very little you could add to improve your chances.

  • Unfortunately for you, the extra documentation you list for your planned appeal is not all that helpful. Letters from your parents will have no influence whatsoever on the decision, let alone letters from neighbours. Neighbours will not count as "social ties" under any conceivable scenario, and at best such letters will give your case officer a laugh.

  • Receipts from your business are not particularly helpful because it's a small amount of money (from what you've indicated), and is an online business anyway - it's not a job in Kenya, there's no need for you to return to Kenya to continue with it.

  • The M-Pesa system papers might be slightly helpful if you can show you have a s significant amount of money in your account. If it reaches the recommended value of 450 SEK per day of your stay in Sweden, that is good.

  • One extra university course might not be particularly helpful here, unless you can clearly show that you will be graduating after your return from Sweden, and not before.

  • Hopefully your new apartment lease is sufficiently long. It should probably be at least for a year to indicate a commitment.

  • One thing that could help you somewhat is to buy a return flight from Sweden to Kenya, and show it with your application. Yes, it will be a waste of money if you're still not granted a visa, but to be honest, your application seems pretty weak so you might want to do everything to make it look better.

From the Swedish government's perspective, I think the same problem will remain. The fact that you have a boyfriend in Sweden makes it seem possible that you would want to move there permanently (in which case you need a completely different visa and process). Normally you prove that your visit will be temporarily by showing ties to and commitments in your home country. Yours are, even with the update information, tenuous at best. That is the main problem with your application (not the finances), and that remains a problem even with the extra documentation you mention.


TL:DR: I don't think you can.

Potential issues to overcome:

  • no history of income
    Every country that is asked to admit a foreign national as a tourist, needs to ensure that person won't become a drain on resources provided for its citizens. You state your boyfriend is to provide your means to subsist. However, from Sweden's point of view, what if you break up? Then you would be on your own, with no means to live or (more importantly) return to your country of residence. Your personal income sounds like it isn't enough to live on, but rather it is just supplemental income. So what if, for whatever reason, you are forced to survive in Sweden without the assistance of your boyfriend?
  • reason to leave
    Each country also wants to control its internal immigration numbers. They will allow only so many people to legally immigrate. More developed countries tend to have more people (esp from the undeveloped parts of the world) wanting to immigrate to them than they want to accept. People will come to them on visitor visas, and then never leave, becoming illegal immigrants. So Swedish officials need to know you have valid reasons to want to voluntarily leave. These are usually provided as strong family ties and/or work/school. You may have family residing in Kenya, but why are you going to Sweden? Not really to visit Sweden, but to visit your boyfriend (your 'family' as it were.) You are basically telling Sweden that you specifically won't want to leave. Your schooling doesn't really help, because as you say yourself, "I will be done with my studies this month."
    Also, you gave your apartment lease. Is it a long term (yearly) or short (monthly)? If short, that provides no reason for you to return to it.

When it comes right down to it, I don't think you can improve your chances of getting a visitor visa, given your circumstances as you present them.


  • To the OP: I agree with the edits in user1264727's answer, done after your own edits. I must say you are doing everything you can, and what you have done may go a long way to improving your chances. It is unfortunate that the world today is as it is. Good luck with your second attempt, and please let us know how it goes.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 13:00

I believe that the "real" reason for the denial of your visa was number 2, "Your intention to leave the territory of the member states before the expiry of the visa could not be ascertained."

A complicating factor appears to be the "boyfriend" issue. The country may already be uncertain about him, and therefore about you. Since you have not told us your boyfriend's status, I have to guess at three different cases.

  1. Your boyfriend is Swedish. Then, if I were an immigration official, I'd be wondering if he were trying to bring you to Sweden for "permanent" settlement, and, more to the point, if his intentions were "honorable." The way to solve this problem is to have your boyfriend go through the "invitation" process described by user 1254727 to prove that he is "serious" about marrying you, rather than inviting you to Sweden for "fun" and leaving you stranded there.

  2. Your boyfriend is neither Swedish nor Kenyan, but something else, e.g. American. Then the issue is if you join him in Sweden, would you stay there with him, or, instead, leave, for his "home" country. The best "proof" is if you and he present tickets to the United States, and claim that you are "stopping over" in Sweden, that might change people's minds.

  3. Your boyfriend is Kenyan. That's the toughest scenario. Again, your boyfriend might be the key. If he is the son of a diplomat or prominent businessman/politician, then HE can make the case that he will take you back to Kenya. (And he might need to use his political clout to make the case.) If your boyfriend is just an "average Joe," his clout might be no better than yours, and you might be out of luck.


Given the knowledge I obtained through years of applying to residence permits and visas, I can say (in my non-expert opinion) that this was to be expected. If I were your case officer, I'd have reported enough red flags for you to have a negative decision. Let's see the reasons they've given you:

1.Justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay was not provided

Where are you going to stay? Have you given attached an invitation from your boyfriend to the application? How are you going to spend on yourself in that time? Have you attached a bank statement from your boyfriend?

2.Your intention to leave the territory of the member states before the expiry of the visa could not be ascertained

Studies almost done, portable business, bank account very recently opened, Kenya is a high-risk country when it comes to that so your application was even more scrutinized.

I cannot see anything in your case that makes me believe that you're going back to Kenya when your visa expires. Basically, that's what you want your case officer to believe.

To add to this, now your refusal is in VIS (Visa Information System) which is shared amongst Schengen-area countries. This means that you have even smaller chances being granted any future visa to any country in the Schengen area.

If you don't work on demonstrating stronger ties to Kenya and provide means of support for your visit, then there's little to no hope of you getting a different decision.

  • @JoErNanO I can't say why, but the original poster of this answer made it community wiki. Revisions page showing this.
    – user
    Commented Nov 28, 2014 at 8:44

This may sound harsh, but if you show the Swedish embassy proof that you have a lot of economic resources, it will be easy to get a visa. If you don't, think twice before you try again. Sweden is cold and dark and may be a difficult place for someone used to living in tropical conditions.

Sweden is currently overwhelmed by Syrian and Iraqi immigrants. This immigration is extremely expensive and a huge burden on the economy. The situation is such that many native swedes are homeless and living outdoors, while asylum seekers are guaranteed a home - an absurdity that fuels racism and hatred towards strangers.

  • I see lots of People downvoted, but the sad fact is you're right (I'm Swedish as well)
    – Crazydre
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 17:37
  • 1
    I downvote because tnis is totally unrelevant. The visitor Visa is not for Sweden but for Schengen. The rules are not defined by Sweden or Swedish circumstances, but are clearly spelled out by all Schengen states.
    – ghellquist
    Commented Dec 2, 2018 at 9:43

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