Visa shopping is the practice of applying for a Schengen visa in a country where it is easier to get, even if the applicant intends to travel to a different Schengen country. It is becoming popular due to long waiting times for appointments and convenience.
However, ‘visa shopping’ is illegal, and travelers who do it risk being denied entry into the Schengen Area. However, some people are willing to take the risk because it is easier and faster than applying for a visa in the country they actually want to visit.
Travellers Confirm Utilising ‘Visa Shopping’ To Avoid Long Waiting Times
Schengen visa applicants have echoed these concerns, saying that it has become difficult to make an appointment during the summer and winter due to high demand. Several Schengen visa applicants, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed to SchengenVisaInfo.com that they had practiced visa shopping in the past and might do so again in the future if it was more convenient.
One applicant explained that he and his family applied for a Polish Schengen visa and then traveled to other countries in the Schengen Area because it was easier and faster to get an appointment at the Polish Embassy. The applicant knew about the risks of visa shopping, but he and his family decided to ignore the Schengen visa rules because they would have had to change all their travel plans to spend most of their allowed days in Poland.
However, not everyone is aware of the risks, and embassies around the world have begun issuing warnings.
Warnings From Embassies Worldwide
The Embassy of Estonia has warned that visa shoppers could face severe consequences, including having their visa refused or being deported from the EU.
The Embassy of Switzerland in India and Bhutan has also warned against visa shopping, stating that it is against the Schengen rules. The embassy has also increased its capacity to process visa applications and now accepts applications up to six months before the travel date.
Best Countries To Apply For A Schengen Visa
The following countries are known to be easier to obtain a Schengen visa from:
The following countries have the highest rejection rates for Schengen visas:
If you are planning to travel to the Schengen Area, it is important to apply for a visa in the country where you plan to visit or stay the longest. Visa shopping is illegal and could result in serious consequences.