Exclusive: Africa-specific Schengen Visa Statistics

Based on official visa application records, Schengen countries are an attractive destination for many potential visitors coming from all around the world. During 2017, more than 16 million people applied for a Schengen uniform visa, notes the online information platform SchengenVisaInfo.com.

African citizens share a significant portion of this huge amount of Schengen visa applications. According to the official statistics, it is noted that Schengen embassies located in Africa collected 17% of the total applications recorded worldwide in 2017.

But, in addition to being among the most interested visitors of the Schengen zone, Africans stood at the top for the highest number of visa denials, the statistics read. In 2017, rejected Schengen uniform visa applications accounted for almost a quarter (24%) of all applications in Africa.

Some African countries had a particularly high rate of visa denials. In percentage terms, Nigeria topped the list with the highest number of denied Schengen visas. As shown in official data, more than half (52.5%) of 83,647 applications submitted in Schengen embassies in Nigeria were rejected.

France stood at the top in the list of Schengen countries whose embassies received most visa applications in Africa.Similarly, they led in terms of visa approvals and denials. 

Out of all 21,754 visa applications filed at the French embassy in Lagos, a portion of 50.9% of them has been given a Schengen uniform visa. Visa denials at this embassy stood at 11,079 applications.

On the other side, the embassy of Spain in Abuja came last in terms of Schengen visa applications. Only 141 people submitted an application at the Spanish embassy.

German embassies in Nigeria also collected a significant number of applications. Out of 1,055 applications submitted at the German embassy in Abuja, only 2% of applicants were rejected (the lowest rate among Schengen embassies in Nigeria).

Visa denials were also relatively high in the following African countries  

  • Eritrea – 47.8%
  • Guinea – 43.5%
  • Central African Republic –43.0%
  • Senegal – 37.9%
  • Comoros – 36.3%
  • Ghana – 36.2%
  • Algeria – 35.9%
  • Democratic Republic of Congo –34.8%
  • Libya – 33.3%

In absolute numbers, the following five African countries had the highest rate of Schengen visa denials 

  • Algeria – 279,740
  • Morocco – 93,859
  • Nigeria – 43,901
  • Tunisia – 34,621
  • Egypt – 30,688

On the other hand, the graph shown below displays the African countries with the lowest Schengen visa denials in 2017.

Out of 47 African countries where the Schengen’s embassies are located, in 25 of them, French embassies issued most Schengen uniform visas. Similarly, in 23 countries French embassies denied most visa applications expressed in absolute numbers. 

Particular countries which have seen an upward trend in the number of illegal migrants toward Schengen countries, like Morocco and Algeria were most affected from such stringent policies. On the other hand, the reasons for the high number of visa denials in countries like Nigeria is more complex. 

Ella Worehead 

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