In 2015, I was refused entry at Heathrow Airport in London because of a prior conviction I had for possession of child pornography. In 2014, I was admitted to Norway and France on two separate trips. I want to visit Western Europe again. How can I be assured I will be admitted to Schengen countries?

  • Western Europe is too broad, each subgroup has different rules. Plus nobody can assure you of anything. Even people without criminal histories or other black marks get denied so nothing is guaranteed. – user 56513 Apr 29 '17 at 13:06
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    How is it that they have different rules? The question is scoped to Schengen and that's governed by a single regulation. – Gayot Fow Apr 29 '17 at 13:30
  • @GayotFow He did initially say Western Europe. Not all Western European countries are in the Schengen zone – user 56513 Apr 29 '17 at 13:57
  • @SheikPaul but the question is "How can I be assured I will be admitted to Schengen countries?" The less-specific mention of "Western Europe" is only in describing the motivation for the question. – phoog May 1 '17 at 19:07

Regardless of your nationality, you can apply in advance for a Schengen Short-stay visa from within your home country. If your nationality is not on the visa-national list and you would not normally need a visa in advance, you can still apply.

Doing this has the advantage of maximising the chances of successful entry (all other things being equal) and avoids wasted airfares and the distress of removal from port.

You can do the same thing for a UK Standard Visitor Visa. People can apply for entry clearance even though nationals of that country do not ordinarily need one. Once again, the important caveat for successful entry is all other things being equal.

You did not provide your nationality or location so more specific information about how to apply cannot be given, but the generic steps are...

  1. Plot your itinerary and contact the Embassy of the country you wish to visit
  2. Download and fill out the form
  3. Collect your evidence
  4. Report to the VFS for biometric enrolment and visa submission
  5. Await results

To summarise...

How can I be assured I will be admitted to Schengen countries?

There is no method that absolutely guarantees admission to the Schengen zone. However, applying for a visa in advance maximises the chances of a successful landing and minimises the chances of removal from port (all other things being equal).

  • How does receipt of a Schengen visa "assure successful entry"? The question posted immediately before this one, just two minutes earlier, concerned someone who was refused admission by Polish authorities despite holding a valid Schengen visa issued by Polish authorities. The visa was revoked. – phoog Apr 29 '17 at 12:59
  • In fact there is a way to guarantee admission to the Schengen zone, which is to become a citizen of a Schengen member state. Of course, if you have difficulty with gaining admission, you're likely to have much more difficulty with gaining citizenship. – Mike Scott Apr 29 '17 at 17:13
  • @MikeScott they could also get a job with Department of State and travel on a diplomatic passport. :) – Gayot Fow Apr 29 '17 at 17:31
  • @GayotFow in such a case the receiving country could still declare the traveler/diplomat persona non grata. – phoog May 1 '17 at 19:27

You cannot be assured of admission. All countries in Western Europe, like nearly every place in the world, reserve the right to refuse entry to aliens for a variety of reasons, and their immigration officers have the power to do this even for those who have received a visa.

Note in the Schengen Borders Code that possession of a valid visa is only one of several conditions of entry (Article 6). Another condition is that "they are not persons for whom an alert has been issued in the SIS for the purposes of refusing entry." If such an alert has been issued for you, then you are out of luck.

  • @GayotFow indeed, the visa code requires the issuer to check that. But consulates make mistakes. It's also possible that the traveler has a visa from the 2014 trip that is still valid. – phoog Apr 29 '17 at 14:09
  • How does one find out if such alerts have been issued on oneself? And where can one find more information on the SIS as such in general? – Joseph P. Sep 17 '20 at 21:31
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    @JosephP. Those are good questions. I don't know whether they have already been asked on this site. For SIS you can try Wikipedia, which ought to have links to the official pages of the European Commission. – phoog Sep 17 '20 at 22:24

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