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Opinions of Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Columnist: Acheampong, Emmanuel Opoku

On what grounds can you be refused a schengen visa? Part 1

Introduction
Under Article 32 of the Schengen Visa Code, the consulate shall refuse a visa if any of the following factors are present.

1. Presentation of a travel document which is false, counterfeit or forged.
The consulate shall refuse your visa if you present a passport or other travel document which is found to be false, counterfeit or forged. The consulate will verify your travel document to ascertain whether it was properly issued by the competent authority or has been tampered in any way. The verification will also include the verification of visa stickers affixed into your passport or other travel document. If the consulate finds that the stickers in your passport are forged, your visa will be refused.

How does the consulate check your travel document?
There are so many ways the consulate can check whether your travel document is forged. They may compare your travel document with a genuine specimen of the document. They may also examine the travel document by checking the numbering, the printing and stitching of pages, inserted seals and stamps, and use of equipment such as UV lamps, magnifying glasses, retrieval lamps, microscopes and, where necessary, more advanced equipment such as video spectral analysers.

When the consulate detects that your travel document is forged, they will retain it and refer the document to the appropriate issuing authority in your country for onward action. You may end up being prosecuted for possessing a false document should your passport or visa stickers in them be found to be forged.

2. Failure to provide justification and purpose and conditions of your intended stay.
Your application will also be refused if you are unable to justify the purpose and conditions of your intended stay. In fact, a greater number of visa refusals are based on applicants’ inability to sufficiently justify the purpose of their visit. Often times, applicants are bewildered by the import of this ground.



The purpose of the intended stay
In determining the purpose of your intended stay, the consulate will verify the purpose and the legality of your intended stay and its justification. In making this determination, the consulate will obtain ample information from you at the time of submitting your application in addition to your supporting documents.

If the consulate finds that the person or company inviting you has previously sent a large number of invitations to other persons they may conclude that the purpose of your travel is geared towards illegal immigration and/or employment and will refuse your visa. Also, if the consulate finds that your travel document contains a stamp indicating that you have made a previous application in another Schengen consulate but no visa was issued, it may raise concerns about your intentions, but not an automatic refusal. The consulate may wish to contact the other consulate for them to clarify the reasons for their refusal to issue you a visa.

Coherence between purpose of stay and factual information
In further examining the purpose of your stay, the consulate will assess whether your declared purpose is coherent and credible and your supporting documents correspond to the stated purpose. Examples of incoherence between declared purpose of stay and factual information provided include situations where you claim to travel for purposes of tourism but your documents show that you intend to stay in an industrial area or in a cheap hotel; or you claim to visit a professional event at dates that do not correspond to the actual dates of the event; or where the purpose of your trip is to visit a friend but it turns out that your friend is absent during that period.

Other examples include where you claim to be a trader in cosmetics but have been invited to attend a medical conference; or where the purpose of your trip is to participate in a congress for which you have been invited but fail to produce any documentation showing that you hold a profession or a qualification related to the subject of the congress.

To be continued…

By Emmanuel Opoku Acheampong

Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on Schengen immigration law. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information. The writer is an immigration law advisor and a practicing law attorney in Ghana. He advises on U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He works part-time for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, an immigration law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on acheampongassociatesgh@gmail.com.