Do you have your heart set on travelling to Europe?
Unfortunately, the process of applying for a Schengen Visa can be incredibly stressful and nerve-wracking.
You’re not sure if you have your documents filled in correctly, worried whether an incomplete document might have put you straight into the reject pile, or scared stiff of the Schengen Visa interview.
You might have heard that one of the most common Schengen Visa rejection reasons is the applicant’s inability to prove their intent to return home.
This is because the Embassy officers want to be as certain as possible that you will indeed return to your home country once your journey to Europe is complete.
That’s why proving your genuine intentions to return home (your “rootedness” or ties to your home country) is an essential requirement that all Embassies put emphasis on.
In this post, we’ll explain what “rootedness” is and share the best ways to prove you have strong ties to your home country. This will take you one step closer to getting a Schengen Visa and exploring Europe!
Table of contents:
- What does “rootedness” or “strong ties” to your home country mean?
- 6 ways to prove intent to return home after travelling to Europe
1. What Does “Rootedness” or “Strong Ties” to Your Home Country Mean?
As we have previously mentioned, one of the very important requirements you need to meet when applying for a Schengen Visa is your deep-rootedness in your country (whether it is the country you were born in or your current country of residence).
Put simply, “ties” to your country are the relationships and bonds that connect you to your current place of residence: spouse, job, business, children, properties, investments, etc.
Each applicant’s situation is different, of course, and there is no magic recipe for a successful Schengen Visa application.
However, most reasons for Schengen Visa denial are related to overstaying. Thus, it is important that you prove you don’t have ANY reason to overstay your Visa, work illegally in Europe, and violate EU law.
An applicant’s lack of ties to the home country is included on the “Standard Form for Notifying and Motivating Refusal, Annulment, or Revocation of a Visa” (for more details, please check out this guide).
This cause of rejection reads as follows: “Your intentions to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the Visa could not be ascertained.”
Europe takes strong action to prevent irregular migration by ensuring that each Schengen Visa applicant meets specific requirements before crossing the Schengen Area’s external borders.
So the question is, how do you prove your deep-rootedness in your home country? What documents can you submit to prove to the Embassy officers that you will not stay illegally in Europe?
Let’s explore the best ways to prove your intent to return home and get your Schengen Visa approved.
2. 6 Ways to Prove Intent to Return Home After Travelling to Europe
Before we get into all the details and explore the best ways to prove your intent to return home, let’s clear up one common confusion.
Many people believe that submitting a round-trip flight ticket or their bank statements that show they have enough means of subsistence is enough to prove their intention to return home.
We hate to break it to you, but your round-trip flight reservations and bank statements are mandatory documents that do not necessarily prove your intentions to return to your country of residence.
On the other hand, the documents you can submit to prove your rootedness are not necessarily mandatory for your Schengen Visa application (at least, not all of them).
However, we are strongly encouraging you to submit them even if they are not mandatory as they can highly increase your chances of getting a Schengen Visa.
Here are 6 ways to prove your rootedness or strong family and social ties to your home country:
1. Submit proof of property ownership
Do you have properties under your name in your country of residence? This can include a house deed, car registration documents, land title deed, stock certificate, etc.
Submitting proof of property ownership is not mandatory for your Schengen Visa application.
However, if you own properties, this is a great way to prove your financial freedom and, therefore, your deep-rootedness in your home country.
2. Submit your marriage certificate
For some Embassies, submitting a civil status certificate to prove your marital status is mandatory, while for others, is optional.
However, if you are travelling out of your country alone, submitting your marriage certificate is one of the best ways to bring evidence of your intent to return home.
This is because your marriage certificate will prove to the Embassy officers that you will return home to your family.
3. Prove that you have multiple streams of income
Having a steady source of income is extremely important to prove your rootedness. Being employed and earning enough money to live comfortably brings strong evidence of your intention to return home once your trip to Europe is over.
However, do note that submitting proof of your employment status is mandatory for all Embassies. If you are employed, you must submit documents such as your employment contract, payslips, Certificate of Employment (COE), No Objection (NOC) Letter from Employer, etc.
Depending on the financial security provided by your employer, you may want to submit other regular income statements (if applicable).
For example, if your paycheck isn’t enough, you could submit other types of additional income statements (e.g., rental income, investments, etc.).
4. Show you’re participating in useful activities that are worth your time
Participating in worthwhile activities (e.g., social activities) helps you build social bonds and contributes to a sense of belonging.
This can help you prove that you are firmly established in your home country and have deep roots in the local community.
For example, you can prove you’re doing volunteer work or actively promoting causes (e.g., environmental issues, refugee rights, charities, etc.).
To prove your voluntary work, you can ask for a volunteer reference letter stating that you are a volunteer, your role, what you accomplished, etc.
5. Submit your children’s birth certificates
If you have children, submitting their birth certificates is a great way to prove your family ties and deep-rootedness in your home country.
Depending on your personal situation, you can also submit a court decision (if you got divorced) stating that you have sole or joint legal custody of your children.
Or, if you have adopted a child, you may want to submit documents proving their legal adoption.
6. Write a detailed cover letter
Depending on the Embassy you apply to, the Schengen Visa cover letter may be a mandatory or optional document. Even if your cover letter is optional, we are strongly encouraging you to submit it.
Your cover letter is an important document that gives you the opportunity to make your travel purpose clear.
If none of the situations above is applicable to you (you do not have strong financial or family ties in your home country), you may want to write a very detailed cover letter outlining your genuine intentions to return to your home country.
Be sure to build convincing arguments. For example, you may want to return home to take care of your elderly parents or bring a business idea to life.
Remember, honesty is the best policy. Be sure to write an honest cover letter as the Embassy officers are experts at spotting inconsistencies and red flags.
Conclusion: When it comes to proving your deep-rootedness in your home country, there is no magic recipe that works for everyone.
There are many factors that Embassy officers will consider to determine whether or not you have strong bonds in your country that will compel you to come back at the end of your journey.
They will consider your financial ability to cover your expenses during your trip, personal circumstances, travel purpose, employment status, and much more.
However, submitting as much evidence as possible to prove your genuine intentions to return home will definitely increase your chances of getting a Schengen Visa.
You can also ask the Embassy for any other documents they might want from you to prove your ties to your home country.
Remember, the stronger your ties to your home country are, the more your chances to be granted a Schengen Visa increase.
Are you planning a holiday, business trip or any other project in Europe?
When applying for a Schengen Visa for the first time, the entire process can be incredibly overwhelming, with all the generic website information you need to spend hours reading, watching, making notes on, etc.
We at Visas Association understand how daunting it is to collect all the required documents. That’s why we’re here to take the stress out of your application process.
Get your personalised Schengen Embassy Requirements Report (SERR) TODAY – at a heavily discounted price! A Visa expert will review your situation and give you a list of the exact documents you need to submit to prove your strong ties to your home country and ensure you walk into your Schengen Visa appointment with confidence.