Most Common Mistakes Travellers Make When Applying for a Schengen Visa

Applying for a Schengen Visa in 2024 is not an easy task, as it has never been. The application process involves gathering numerous documents, attending an interview, and paying a fee.

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As of June 11, 2024, the Schengen visa fee has increased from €80 to €90.

However, getting a visa can be made easier for many, if they only pay attention to some very common mistakes that usually result in the rejection of an application.

Most of the time, these mistakes are made due to lack of knowledge, or the applicant not understanding the importance of the documents meeting the criteria set by the Schengen country they wish to visit.

We asked the founder of SchengenVisaInfo, Besart Bajrami, to share a list of the most common mistakes made by Schengen visa applicants based on his experience.

Below is a compilation of these common errors. By avoiding them and ensuring your application file complies with Schengen authorities’ criteria, you can greatly increase your chances of obtaining a Schengen visa.

1. Collecting the Required Documents Based on a Random List Provided by a Friend

Many travellers, in particular first-time Schengen visa applicants, make the mistake of taking advice from family members or friends who have obtained Schengen visas in the past, and apply it word by word throughout the whole procedures.

The required documents for a Schengen visa differ in many occasions from one country to the other, or from one embassy to the other. In addition, visa requirements are continuously reviewed and updated by Schengen Area embassies worldwide.

People who just get a random list from a friend or a family member and start collecting the documents according to the same, often make the mistake of leaving out crucial, newly added requirements, or documents that are required according to new criteria.

All Schengen visa applicants are advised to collect the documents based on the list published by the embassy of the country where they will file their application.

SchengenVisaInfo also has a complete list of the documents required for a Schengen visa application, which are continuously reviewed and updated according to official sources.

2. Passport Does Not Meet the Requirements

Having a passport that has some several more months of validity left is not enough, and some travellers have learnt it the hard way.

The EU has specific and strict passport rules for those applying for a Schengen visa, as follows:

  • The passport must be valid for six more months beyond the date of their planned trip to the Schengen Area.
  • The passport must have been issued in the last ten years on the date the passport holder plans to leave the Schengen country he or she is visiting.
  • The passport must have at least two blank pages, but they must not be added later to the passport.

Those who fail to meet any of these rules, are rejected from getting a visa.

In addition, travellers planning to get a visa with the multiple entry option, for periods of three or five years, must be aware that if the validity of their passport is shorter than the period of validity of the required visa, then they will not be getting the latter.

Instead, in most occasions, they will get a visa valid for shorter period of time, before the expiration of their passport.

3. Filling the Application Form With Info That Doesn’t Align With Other Documents

travel visa
© Anutr Yossundara |

Every traveller needs to fill in the application form for a Schengen visa (Download the application on the SchengenVisaInfo page). This is the first document that is required. Many travellers make the mistake of putting into the application form different information than those in the other documents.

For example, if their passport is valid for six more months, some put in the application that the passport is valid for longer than that. In other occasions, they write the required period of visa validity in different dates, than the dates for which they have travel insurance, or accommodation.

Such mistakes, in particular when done intentionally, may result automatically in the rejection of the visa application.

Find clear instructions on how to fill in the visa application form from experts at SchengenVisaInfo.

4. The Applicant Doesn’t Have (the Right) Travel Insurance

women checking for travel insurance online
© Rawpixelimages |

Refusing to buy travel insurance with the idea “nothing’s gonna happen to me” is a huge mistake. The embassy does not care whether you are a person that never gets sick, or is very careful of accidents. Schengen travel insurance worth €30,000 coverage that cover repatriation in case of death, is a must for every person.

In many occasions, people obtain travel insurance for a shorter period of time than that they are planning to spend in the EU, or buy it with a lower coverage than required.

In cases when insurance does not cover repatriation in case of death, no matter how much it covers other accidents, the requirement of having travel insurance is considered unmet.

Travellers always have the opportunity to buy schengen travel insurance online at very low cost from Europ Assistance or Insurte.

5. Submitting an Application Too Early or Too Late

Like every other thing, the time when an application should be filed is also regulated by the Schengen Visa Code. According to it, the earliest that you can file an application is six months before your intended trip, and the latest is 15 working days before your intended trip.

Trying to file an application i.e. one year in advance, is not going to end well, not even at super crowded embassies.

The same with filing an application late. People who have previously gotten a visa in a very short period, i.e. five days from a particular embassy, and think that filing the next visa application late will not be a big deal risk getting their visa application delayed, or even not accepted at all.

Thus every traveller must make sure that he or she is submitting the application well in advance, but not earlier than six months before their planned trip.

6. Applying at the Wrong Embassy/Consulate/Visa Centre

Another very common mistake amongst people who plan on visiting several Schengen Area countries with a single visa, is submitting the application at the wrong embassy.

In cases when one wishes to visit two or more countries in the Schengen Area with the same visa in an uninterrupted trip, the application should be submitted as follows:

  • At the embassy of the country you will visit first, if you are planning to stay in each country for an equal amount of days. I.e. if you are planning to stay five days in Austria, five days in Germany, and five days in France, but you will enter the Schengen Zone through Austria, then you should submit you application at the Austrian embassy.
  • At the embassy of the country you will stay the longest, if you are planning to stay in each country a different amount of days. I.e. if you are planning to stay three days in Austria, five days in Germany, and seven days in France, then you should submit you application at the French embassy.

You can use Visa Wizard by SchengenVisaInfo to find out which embassy or consulate to apply at!

7. Not Bringing Cash to Pay the Application Fee

Euro money
© Markus Spiske | Unsplash

This one is not a mistake that could get you your visa rejected, but could cause you some unnecessary trouble.

On the day of the interview, many people do not bring cash with them to pay the Schengen visa fee under the idea that they can pay with card or online. This is not possible, as all embassies, consulates, and visa centres require travellers to have the exact amount required for a visa in cash.

Trying to pay with big banknotes might also be a problem, in particular if you are amongst the first applicants of the day. It is best for every applicant to have the exact amount, in order to avoid any headaches.