EU made €56.3 million from rejected African visa applicants in 2023

June 9, 2024
Netherlands Embassy
Netherlands Embassy in Ghana | Photo: MyJoy Online

Historically, Africans have been among the top Schengen visa applicants. Alongside filing most visa requests, they are also the most rejected applicants, with Algerians being denied visas to Schengen the most, in more than one case.

The high number of rejected visa applications has caused African nationals to spend millions every year, with the fees known as ‘reverse remittances’ benefitting no one but the EU countries, Schengen.News reports.

According to data from Schengen Visa Statistics, in 2023, African nationals received 704,000 negative responses for their visa requests. This means that €56.3 million went up in smoke, considering that visa application fees are not refundable.

Algeria is the country of origin for most rejected applications in 2023, representing 23.5 per cent of all amount spent on rejected applications.

Algerians also have the second-highest number of rejected applications compared to all – 289,000 out of 704,000, representing 42.3 per cent of all requests.

This nationality group is especially impacted by visa rejections because it has high application rates and they are affected economically when placing visa applications.

A Schengen visa application costs €80 which is equal to almost one-third of the average wage in Algeria (€300).

Moroccans, the top visa applicants from Africa for the year, have the highest number of visas rejected. A total of 437,000 visa requests filed by this nationality group were rejected in 2023, representing 62 per cent of the total. As per expenses, Moroccans spent €10.9 million on rejected visa applications in 2023.

Africans are heavily impacted by these expenses, considering that the majority of African countries have some of the lowest wages in the world.

To put into perspective, the amount of Africans rejected visas is 43.1 per cent of all the amount generated by rejected applications in 2023.

EU made €56.3 million from rejected African visa applicants in 2023
Source: Schengen Visa Statistics

A recent study by EU Observer revealed that the Schengen visa rejections generated an amount of €130 million in 2023. In the previous year, this amount stood at €105 million, showing an upward trend of Schengen visa expenses as well as rejection rates.

The same shows that countries in Africa and Asia represent 90 per cent of all the costs of denied Schengen visas.

Visa inequality has very tangible consequences and the world’s poorest pay the price. You can think of the costs of rejected visas as ‘reverse remittances’, money flowing from poor to rich countries. We never hear about these costs when discussing aid or migration, it is time to change that. Marta Foresti, Founder of LAGO Collective

However, more expenses await African nationals, considering that as of June 11, 2024, the EU measure to increase visa fees will enter into force. This means that starting next week, African nationals will pay €90 instead of €80 for a Schengen visa application, raising expenses from €56 million to €63 million.

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