5 Most Difficult Countries to Obtain a Schengen Visa in 2023

Schengen Visa

If your trip to the European Union requires a Schengen visa, you may face several challenges. This document allows its holder to visit 30+ countries in Europe, 27 of which are included in Schengen. However, it is not easy to obtain it.

Difficulty of Obtaining a Schengen Visa

The Schengen Visa provides several benefits, including making people who frequently travel or go to EU countries for work purposes feel more comfortable. However, is it that easy to apply Schengen Visa or any other one? Everything depends on the country whose embassy you are applying to. There is a rating of states that most often deny visas to applicants. Malta is the leader (36.4% of applications are rejected), followed by Sweden (29%), Belgium (28.4%) and France (22.2%). Spain is in last place, representing over 20% of rejected visa applications. 


The rate of rejected visa applications for consulates and visa centers in Malta reaches 36.4%. This figure is low compared to other countries as the number of applications submitted is noticeably lower than, for example, in France. Malta rejected about 8 thousand out of 22275 applications.


The second place is occupied by Sweden, where 29% of applications were rejected, or 38,652 out of 136 thousand. The country is famous for its high level of security and is very attentive to who comes to its territory, so the conditions for issuing visas are strict.


Belgium takes third place with 28.4% of rejected applications or 46,569 out of almost 172 thousand. There are strict rules and careful selection of those who can visit the country for any reason.


Next is France, which rejected 408,876 applications out of nearly two million. It is the highest figure in Schengen. Therefore, the rejection rate reached 22.2%.


Spain takes a modest 5th place in our ranking with its 20% rejection rate. 227,712 out of 1,138,560 applications were rejected. This country probably has too high requirements for visa applicants.

Let’s consider typical reasons for visa rejection to avoid them in the future at the document preparation stage.

The main reasons for the refusal of a European visa

Your visa can be denied for various reasons. So, let’s consider the most typical ones:

  1. Incomplete set of submitted documents.
  2. Inaccurate or incomplete information about the applicant and his family members, inaccuracies and errors.
  3. Criminal record or sanctions, including past convictions.
  4. Health problems that prevent safe travel and require ongoing treatment.
  5. You may not have sufficient funds to cover expenses abroad. 
  6. Lack of strong ties with your home country: if the visa officer suspects you have no intention of returning home, you will be refused.
  7. Lack of a clear purpose for your trip.
  8. Not attending visa interviews.
  9. Not being prepared for visa interviews.
  10. Overstaying a previous similar document.
  11. Security issues: you potentially pose a threat to the country of your trip.
  12. Non-compliance with health conditions and vaccinations.
  13. Lack of health/travel insurance.
  14. Political disagreements with the country you are going to travel to.
  15. Age restrictions.

The consequences of a visa refusal include financial losses if you have already paid the visa fee, bought airline tickets, etc.; inability to go on a trip that was planned; possible difficulties in obtaining a similar visa in the future.

To get approval for a Schengen visa, use our tips:

  • Start the application process in advance: at least one month before the actual date of travel;
  • Provide complete, truthful information about yourself; double-check everything several times;
  • Gather a complete set of documents;
  • Demonstrate to the visa officer that your ties with your home country are strong and you plan to return home soon. 

In some cases, you may need an interview to obtain a visa. According to Kevin Crossman (My Schengen Agency), one of the secrets to a successful interview with a visa officer is serious preparation and tidy appearance, as well as providing truthful information about yourself and the purpose of the trip.


There are many reasons why you may be refused a European visa. However, applying to a specialized agency to reduce the risks is recommended, whose representatives will explain what you are eligible for and help you prepare the application and document it so that the probability of getting the desired document is maximum. This issue is disclosed in more detail on the website myschengen.com. Trust professionals to do their job so that all your future trips will be pleasant and comfortable. Please take note of our recommendations, and we will let you succeed in getting the desired document on the first attempt. 

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