The number of Schengen visa denials in Uganda shared a large proportion of 17.8% of total visa applicants, marking a year-on-year increase, https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/ has noticed.
Comprised of 26 EU countries, Schengen is the largest border-free area in the world.
Taken overall, Schengen is a major attraction as millions of foreign visitors enter every year.
According to the latest official data, more than 14 million people from all around the world entered Schengen during 2018 while having obtained a Schengen visa.
Schengen it’s also a popular destination among travellers from Uganda.
Visa application statistics taken from 2018, have shown that a number of 13,352 citizens of Uganda applied for a Schengen uniform visa last year. This was only a tiny increase compared to 13,335 visa applications being collected during 2017.
But what accounted for the main highlight from annual Schengen visa application statistics, was that the number of visa denials is increasing regularly.
That said, last year Schengen embassies operating in Uganda denied a total of 2,500 applications. Compared to the total visa application, this number represented a proportion of 18.7 percent of all applicants.
Moreover, statistics revealed that compared to the previous year visa denials have increased at a significant percentage rate. Based on official data, 2,302 visa applicants had been turned down in 2017, equal to 17.3 percent of all applicants being recorded during that year.
The Dutch embassy stood first in the list of Schengen embassies which denied most applicants. Exactly 673 residents of Uganda were rejected by the Dutch embassy last year.
Other embassies that denied a relatively high number of applications were Germany (617), Italy (510) and France (489), statistics further show.
Kadaga weighs in
ChimpReports understands the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga in July tasked the foreign affairs ministers of Africa take interest in the challenges faced by their people in securing visas to other countries with an aim of easing restrictions.
Kadaga said the time lag of receiving a visa to other countries, most times of which are given out of the country of the passport’s origin, have proved a barrier and have many a time limited the movement of people.
“When the Schengen arrangement started in 1995, a visa of Germany could take you anywhere in Europe, but now almost each country wants the processing of their own visas and it seems our foreign affairs office is not aware about this,” she observed while on a tour in Canada. .
Reasons that lead to being denied a Schengen visa can be many and vary depending on the applicant.
However, on a major scale, it all comes down to incomplete applications, insufficient funds or proper health insurance and quite often a failure to provide convincing proof over the intention of the applicant’s visit in Schengen.
In recent years Schengen embassies have worked a lot more to strengthen their visa policies often aiming to maintain strong admission criteria.
A major driver for Schengen embassies to deeply review their visa policies has also been illegal immigration. Fortunately, Uganda has not been among countries which have gained a bad reputation for illegal immigration but taken overall EU authorities are keeping a close eye to African countries.
There is however hope that these issues will be soon discussed among EU authorities as talks with other African countries over facilitated visa policies for their residents have taken place often.
Kadaga said the best course of action by the foreign affairs office to check on this challenge faced by citizens is to set up a reciprocal arrangement which would go a long way in easing access to visas by Ugandans.
“Uganda processes visas at the port of entry whereby persons getting into the country can get a visa on arrival at Entebbe Airport. We need to set up such arrangements with other major countries which our people travel to so as to ease their access to visas,” said Kadaga.