Guide To The Appeal Letter For A Schengen Visa Refusal
What Is An Appeal Letter For Schengen Visa Refusal?
The appeal letter for a Schengen Visa refusal is an official remonstration letter written by a Visa applicant to dispute a Schengen Visa rejection.
The letter must be well structured and highlight clear thinking and solid justification as to the reason(s) why the decision of the Embassy was incorrect.
The appeal letter must be written with solid grounds on why the decision should be overturned bearing in mind that, if your Schengen Visa application was rejected, you have two options:
1. Appeal the decision
Only appeal if you have strong reasons to believe that the decision was incorrect and you can prove it.
For example, if your Visa was rejected because the Visa officers were not sure about your intentions to return to your country of residence, it is not enough to believe that the decision was incorrect because you know that you intend to return to your country of residence.
You must provide additional proof of your rootedness by attaching supporting documents in your Schengen Visa appeal.
2. Submit a new application
There is no specific moment that determines when new applications can be submitted.
You can do it whenever you want as long as you submit new (and up-to-date) documents and not the same documents that you have submitted for the rejected application (e.g., new application form, employment documents, bank statements, etc.).
When a Schengen Visa is refused, the applicant receives an official letter from the Embassy/Consulate where it typically states that they were rejected for a specific reason (there are times the reasons are not included).
At the bottom of the rejection letter (in the “comments” or “remarks” section), each Schengen Embassy/Consulate points out that the applicant may appeal against the decision to refuse/annul/revoke the Visa within a specific period of time (each Embassy/Consulate has a specific period within which the rejected candidate can make the appeal) as provided by their national law.
Also, the refusal letter must indicate in the “comments” or “remarks” section the references to the national law of the Schengen State who refused the Visa and the procedure related to the right of appeal, including the competent authority with which an appeal may be lodged, as well as the time limit for lodging it.
Therefore, if your Schengen Visa was rejected, the law of each Schengen country allows you to appeal the decision, as long as you follow the steps that are indicated at the bottom of your refusal letter (which do vary according to the Schengen country that refused your Visa).
The Importance Of The Schengen Visa Appeal Letter
The Schengen Visa appeal can be extremely important for you if you have strong reasons to believe that your application should not have been refused.
A remonstration letter for your Schengen Visa rejection can give you the chance to get a Schengen Visa without you cancelling your travel plans and investing time and money to prepare a new application.
During this process, your application will be reviewed by a higher authority that can correct the errors of the Visa officers who rejected your Visa (even if they typically do not make errors and if your Visa was rejected it means that at least one document in your application was missing or was not correct).
Therefore, the appeal is important because it gives each applicant the statutory right to apply for the reversal of the Visa rejection decision, as stated by Article 32 (3) of the Visa Code:
“Applicants who have been refused a visa shall have the right to appeal. Appeals shall be conducted against the Member State that has taken the final decision on the application and in accordance with the national law of that Member State. Member States shall provide applicants with information regarding the procedure to be followed in the event of an appeal”.
How To Appeal A Schengen Visa Application Refusal
Below you will find all the necessary steps that you must follow in order to appeal your Schengen Visa denial:
- Read the rejection Embassy letter that you received as well as the reason or reasons that led to the denial of your Visa. Decide whether it is worth appealing the decision because you consider that your Visa denial was incorrect or you should prepare a new application.
- If you consider that the reason why your Visa was rejected was not correct, you can start preparing your Schengen Visa appeal. We recommend you first create a draft of the letter in which you structure in the body text the argument that you want to present in order to prove the incorrectness of the refusal.
Also, you should prepare any additional documents that you can present, which support your arguments (e.g., child birth certificate to prove your rootedness and the intentions to return to your home country, employment contract and other documents to prove your employment status, the translation in English of one of your documents, etc.). Compelling arguments are the most important part of your appeal.
Bear in mind that you may not receive the documents attached to the letter back after your appeal. When submitting your Visa application, you can attach some original documents to it (besides your passport), such as your original birth certificate and your original marriage certificate.
However, the additional documents that you attach to the appeal letter should be either original documents that you do not need back (e.g., invitation letter from a relative, bank account statement, etc.) or certified copies of original documents that you need to retain the original document of (e.g., documents showing that you have properties in your country of residence, birth certificates of your children, etc.).
Submitting certified copies of original documents instead of ordinary copies is not mandatory, but they can strengthen your letter by bringing proof that you have attached copies of genuine documents.
Also, the additional documents that you must prepare for your Schengen Visa appeal depend on the reason why your Visa has been rejected.
Important – In order to identify the documents that were missing from your application or were not complete/correct, please check the following blog post: Schengen Visa Requirements: What Are The Required Documents?, as well as the detailed guide corresponding to the document that was missing from your application or was not complete/correct.
Alternatively, you can book a free consultation and we can help you identify and prepare the documents for your Schengen Visa appeal.
E.g., in cases where your Schengen Visa was refused because you did not bring proof of holding adequate and valid travel insurance coverage, you can get it from another company or update your current one. Then, you can submit a copy of your new travel insurance together with your Schengen Visa appeal letter. Or, if you were rejected for not bringing adequate proof of accommodation, you can submit hotel bookings and/or a sponsorship accommodation letter from your family members or friends residing in one of the Schengen countries.
- Once your letter is ready and you are sure that it contains strong arguments that can make the Schengen authorities reconsider their decision, you can submit it together with supporting documents to the competent institution to review them. You can write the letter on a computer and include a hand signature at the bottom, under your full name.
As it was mentioned in the first section of this guide, the procedure for appealing your Schengen Visa rejection, as well as the competent authority where you should submit it, depend on the Schengen country that refused your Visa. Details about this procedure are mentioned at the bottom of your rejection letter.
As a general rule, you can submit the rejection letter to the Embassy/Consulate that refused your Visa or to another deciding body.
E.g., on the Schengen Visa rejection letter issued by Embassies/Consulates of Greece, it is written that “you may appeal against this decision to refuse a Visa before the competent administrative court, pursuant to article 15 of Law 3068/2002 within 90 days of the day on which you have been served herewith or notified hereof. The appeal must be written in Greek and signed by a Greek lawyer or yourself. If you choose to sign it yourself, a greek lawyer must attend the hearing thereof. You may also lodge the appeal before a Greek authority. Appeals sent by post shall not be admitted.”
Or, on the rejection letters issued by Embassies/Consulates of Spain, it is written that “the interested party may lodge a contentious-administrative appeal at the High Court of Justice of Madrid (Spain) within a two-month deadline counted from the serving of notice hereof. Alternatively, pursuant to Article 123 of Act 39/2015, of 1 October, on the Common Administrative Procedure of the Public Administrations, the interested party may lodge an optional reconsideration appeal against this resolution within a one-month deadline counted from the serving of notice hereof.
- Once you figure out where you should make your Schengen Visa appeal, search on Google to find out more information concerning that specific appeal decision body (only if you cannot submit it to the Embassy/Consulate that rejected your Visa by post or in person).
For example, you can search on the official website of the High Court of Justice of Madrid and learn more about the appeal procedure. Alternatively, you can contact the Embassy/Consulate that rejected your Visa or the appeal deciding body by phone or email and ask where you should make your Schengen Visa appeal and request further information about it.
E.g., on the official website of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service of the Netherlands, it is mentioned that you can submit your Schengen Visa appeal letter by post.
Alternatively, for further information concerning this procedure, you can contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Schengen State you intend to visit, as mentioned on the official website of the European Commission.
Also, they should mention if you are allowed to write the letter in English or you must write it in the official language of the Schengen country that refused your Visa (or another language). Most Embassies/Consulates/Other appeal decision bodies accept appeal letters in English. However, some of them may require a letter written in the official language of the Schengen Country that refused your Visa (e.g. the Embassy of Greece requires Greek, as you have seen in the paragraph above). In this case, you should contact an authorised translator.
Some Embassies/Consulates may require a fee for the submission of the letter while for others the submission of the letter is free of charge. Also, some of them will refund you the fee if the appeal is accepted.
Some Embassies/Consulates may also request you enclose a copy of your Schengen Visa rejection letter.
- Once you submit your letter, an officer responsible for handling appeals for Schengen Visas will decide whether the rejection of your Visa application should be reversed or not. Waiting times for a Schengen Visa appeal depend on the Schengen country responsible for reviewing it. If your appeal is rejected, some of them do not notify you of the decision.
If your appeal is successful, you will be able to make an appointment and get your Visa (make sure you carry your passport with you, as well as the letter stating that your objection has been successful, and any other document mentioned in the letter).
If you submit your appeal letter to the Embassy/Consulate that rejected your Visa, it will not be reviewed by the same Visa officers who refused your Visa. Most Embassies/Consulates will forward the appeal to their Ministries of Foreign Affairs where other officials will handle your appeal.
Mistakes To Avoid When Writing And Submitting An Appeal Letter For A Schengen Visa Denial
When you write and submit your appeal letter, make sure you avoid one of the following mistakes:
● Submitting a new application before getting an answer regarding your appeal
You are not allowed to apply for another Schengen Visa before receiving an answer concerning your appeal. Otherwise, even if your appeal has high chances of approval, you risk both your application and appeal being rejected.
● Making a Visa appeal just to “give it a try”
The appeal process is not simple and it can cost you time and money (in case a fee is requested). Also, the competent authorities must spend time reviewing your letter and supporting documents.
Therefore, you should submit an appeal only if you have strong reasons to believe that your letter can be approved and not just to “give it a try”, hoping that someone will reconsider the decision and grant you the Visa.
● Not providing strong arguments in your letter and supporting documents
You should not try to convince the competent authorities that you deserve a Schengen Visa by writing statements that are not supported by any proof/document.
E.g., You should not write statements such as “I promise that I will return to my country of residence” or “I guarantee you that I will travel for tourism purposes”. You must bring solid proof of your statements.
● Writing a Schengen Visa appeal letter that is too long
The authorities responsible for handling Visa appeals do not have time to read letters that are 2 or 3 pages long (especially because they usually receive a very high number of appeals). Your letter sample should be no longer than a page and it must not include irrelevant details.
For example, if you were rejected because you did not bring proof of accommodation it is useless to write an entire paragraph in which you say that you have submitted other documents such as documents that prove your means of subsistence. These details are not relevant to your appeal.
● Not improving/correcting any of your documents that lead to your rejection
Let’s assume that your application was rejected because the purpose of your trip was not clear. Even if you have submitted all of the required documents to prove that you are travelling for tourism purposes (e.g., flight and hotel reservations and travel itinerary) it means that something else in your documents was wrong and you should correct them.
So, it is useless to write an appeal letter saying that your rejection was incorrect because you have submitted all of the required documents. Try to identify the error in your documents and correct it.
● Not following the instructions in your rejection letter and not asking for further information
Before submitting your letter, you must know exactly where to submit it, in what language you should write it, if there is any specific documents that you must attach to your letter (e.g., your rejection letter), if there is something mandatory to be mentioned in the letter (e.g., your application number as required by the Embassy of Germany in Cameroon), and if you have to pay a fee.
Make sure you include your personal information in the letter, such as your email address, home address, and phone number.