Neither France nor Germany, let alone Italy or Greece, feature in the list of Europe’s Schengen Area countries that grant the most visas to foreign nationals. In fact, Lithuania is the country offering the best chance of success when it comes to getting an entry permit.
Last year, more than 2.4 million short-stay visas were issued by countries in the Schengen Area, which includes 22 EU member states and four non-EU countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. While all partners in this free movement zone have agreed on simplifying internal border crossings, each is free to grant visas to international travellers with varying degrees of stringency.
These countries hand out the Schengen visa easily
According to data provided by the Schengen Area portal, Lithuania appears to be the most “open” country, with a visa approval rate of 98.7%. For example, 3,481 applications were submitted by Kazakh nationals and 3,090 were granted. The visa approval rates of the other most welcoming Schengen states are very similar. Indeed, this approach is echoed in other Baltic States.
In Estonia (2nd), the visa approval rate was 98.4% in 2021, and, not surprisingly, it was mainly Russian travellers who applied for a visa there. Latvia comes seventh on the list, with an approval rate of 97.9%.
Note that Iceland (4th) — which is not an EU member state but is a member of the Schengen agreement — is also a good option for foreign travellers seeking to enter the area. The country issues visas without much reserve, it seems, since, out of a total of 2,735 applications, 2,410 were granted in 2021.
The other most welcoming countries are Finland (3rd), Luxembourg (5th), Slovakia (6th) and the Czech Republic (8th). However, the most welcoming countries in the Schengen Area are not necessarily those that receive the most visa applications. For the year 2020, according to data from the official website of the European Union, most applications were made to France (658,000), Germany (412,000), Spain (340,000) and Italy (294,000).
Russian, Turkish, Chinese, Moroccan and Indian nationals were the main applicants. It should be noted that these figures concern visa applications and not asylum applications. On this point, the European Union specifies that the most numerous applications were made to Germany (148,200), France (103,800), Spain (62,100) and Italy (43,900), again for the year 2021.
This story was published via AFP Relaxnews
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