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Migration and Home Affairs
News article4 May 20201 min read

Visa statistics: Schengen States issue 15 million visas for short stays in 2019

Figures published by the European Commission show that the consulates of the Schengen States received almost 17 million applications for short-stay visas in 2019, a considerable increase of 5.9% since 2018. The three largest source countries all experienced solid growth, with applications in Russia topping 4 million (+11.8%) for the first time in five years, demand in China reaching almost 3 million (+5.2%), and applications in India exceeding 1 million (+5.6%) for the first time ever.

Visa applications submitted in Turkey also increased by 3.1% to 900 000 after three years of stagnation or decline, and strong growth continued in Morocco (700 000, +6.4%), Saudi Arabia (390 000, +9.4%), Tunisia (250 000, +5.6%) and Indonesia (230 000, +9.3%). Although absolute numbers are low, some smaller countries recorded unprecedented growth rates, including Guinea-Bissau (12 000, +45.4%), Cambodia (15 000, +32.1%), Nepal (13 000, +25.0%), Mauritania (20 000, +24.3%) and Bangladesh (37 000, +21.8%).

By contrast, the volume of applications continued to decline in Algeria (670 000, -6.3%) and Belarus (650 000, -5.2%). The biggest decrease in demand occurred in Iran as a consequence of the difficult economic situation in the country, where 230 000 visa applications represented a decrease of 17.6% since in 2018. Decreases in excess of 5% were also recorded in Iraq (58 000, -11.2%), Kuwait (160 000, -6.6%) and Equatorial Guinea (14 000, -5.8%). For 2020, the unprecedented global travel restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to lead to a dramatic decrease in the demand for Schengen visas worldwide.

The percentage of visa applications that were refused continued to increase in 2019 but varied widely between countries, ranging from less than 2.5% in Belarus, Botswana, Indonesia and Russia, to more than 40% in Algeria, Comoros, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal. Worldwide, 9.9% of all visa applications were refused, 0.3 percentage points more than in 2018. 8.9 million or 59% of the 15 million visas issued in 2019 allow for multiple entries into the Schengen area, a share that has been stable for several years.

In addition to the 15 million visas issued abroad, in 2019 the Schengen States also issued 71 000 uniform visas directly at the external borders. The full Schengen visa statistics since 2010 are available online.


Publication date
4 May 2020