Where to obtain a Schengen Visa easily in 2024: List of the most accessible European countries

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The Schengen visa! The key to 26 European countries, making travel across the continent as easy as a walk in the park. But we all know that obtaining this visa can be a real obstacle course, don't we? Endless waiting, endless paperwork and that little ball of anxiety at the mere thought of a potential refusal. But suppose for a moment that there was a place, the Schengen country, where all this would be... less complicated? Some countries are statistically and practically the most advantageous when it comes to issuing visas, so let's find out.

Understanding the Schengen visa

So, before we dive headfirst into our quest for the easiest Schengen visa to obtainLet's go back to square one to make sure we're talking about the same thing. The Schengen visa is like the magic pass that lets you hop from one European country to another without a hitch. Just imagine: one visa and you're ready to enjoy tapas in Spain, get lost in the alleys of Rome, or gaze at the northern lights in Finland. Not bad, eh?

A brief history

The Schengen visa takes its name from the Schengen Agreement, signed in 1985 near the village of Schengen in Luxembourg. The idea? Gradually abolish border controls between participating European countries to facilitate the free movement of people. Today, the Schengen area encompasses 26 countries, an eclectic mix of destinations that share this common commitment to freedom of movement.

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Schengen Visa ABCs

Obtaining this famous visa is a bit like completing a quest in your favorite video game: there are steps to follow and items to collect (read: documents). Basically, there are three main types of Schengen visa:

  • Airport transit visa (type A) For those who just need to pass through the international zone of an airport without entering the country.
  • Short-stay visa (type C) The famous tourist visa, valid for up to 90 days over a 180-day period. This is the one we covet for our European adventures.
  • Long-stay visa (type D) : For stays of over 90 days, but this is a different kind of adventure.

Documents & procedures

The list of documents may vary a bit by consulate, but expect to gather stuff like:

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  • A completed application form (without erasures, please).
  • Passport-size photos (smile, but not too much).
  • A valid passport (with at least 2 free pages for stamps).
  • Travel insurance (to make sure you don't get into trouble if anything goes wrong).
  • Proof of reservation (to show that you have a travel plan and a place to sleep).
  • And sometimes a letter of invitation or proof of financial means (to prove you're not going to become someone's surprise roommate there).

What next?

Once you've assembled your little collection of documents, the next step is to make an appointment with the consulate or embassy of the Schengen country where you intend to set down your suitcases first. And then, my friends, the waiting begins, the moment when you cross your fingers and hope that your file will be as convincing as a homemade apple pie.

So now you've got the basics to understand what a Schengen visa is and how to get started on the quest. In the following sections, we'll explore together the countries where this process is more like a walk in the park than a marathon.

Factors influencing the ease of obtaining a Schengen visa

Now that you've got your basics down and are ready for adventure, let's take a look at what makes some Schengen countries "easier" than others to get that famous visa. Because, yes, not all Schengen countries are created equal when it comes to making life easier for visa-dependent travelers. But what exactly makes the difference? Hang on, we're diving into the criteria that can make all the difference.

1. Processing times : Speed is the key

Time is money, and when it comes to travel, time is mostly patience (or impatience). Some Schengen countries are renowned for their express processing timesA short lead time can be a real relief for busy travelers or those who tend to organize everything at the last minute. A short lead time can be a real relief for travelers in a hurry or those who tend to organize everything at the last minute.

2. Acceptance rate: The odds are in your favor

Let's face it, being refused a visa can be pretty discouraging. That's why a country's acceptance rate can greatly influence your choice. Some countries have higher acceptance rates than others, increasing your chances of a successful application. Of course, this doesn't mean you can go in with your hands in your pockets: a well-prepared file remains important.

3. Assistance to applicants: a little help

The difference between a complicated visa application process and an "easy" one can often be summed up as followsassistance offered by the country in question. Some consulates offer detailed guides, hotlines or even online services to answer your questions and help you avoid the classic pitfalls that can lead to refusal.

4. Clear, simple information

There's nothing more frustrating than navigating an embassy website designed like a labyrinth, where every click leads to a dead end. Countries that provide clear, precise and easy-to-find information on their visa application process score extra points on the ease-of-use scale.

5. Flexibility and additional options

Finally, some countries offer options that can make obtaining a visa easier, such as multiple-entry visas for frequent travelers, or simplified procedures for certain categories of travelers (such as businessmen or conference participants).

Comparative analysis of Schengen countries

Armed with these criteria, it's time to take a look at the podium of Schengen countries where getting a visa is an almost Zen-like experience. Based on feedback, statistics and a bit of black magic (no, I'm kidding about the magic), here's a look at the candidates that seem to make the visa application process less taxing:

  1. The Host : Portugal

Portugal is often cited for its friendliness and simplified approach to visa applications. With fast processing times and a high acceptance rate, this country is a popular choice for those looking to avoid the hassle.

  1. Le Rapide : Estonia

Estonia, with its reputation as a digital country, offers a fast and efficient visa application process. Ideal for technophiles and those who appreciate online solutions.

  1. The Assistant : Finland

Finland stands out for the clarity of its instructions and the assistance offered to applicants. If you're looking for clear answers and support throughout the process, Finland could be your best bet.

  1. Flexible: Lithuania

Lithuania stands out for its flexibility, especially for young people, students and traveling professionals, with visa options tailored to different travel needs.

  1. Reliable: Slovakia

With its high acceptance rate and accessible information, Slovakia is a safe option for many applicants.

Every traveler has different needs and priorities, so choosing the "best" country will depend on your specific situation. In the following section, we give you a few tips to boost your chances of landing that precious sesame without losing your zen. Ready to take notes?

Tips to increase your chances of obtaining a Schengen visa

Now that you have an idea of which countries might make it easier for you to obtain your Schengen visa, it's time to fine-tune your strategy. Even in the most welcoming country, a poorly prepared application can be turned down. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your Schengen visa application.

1. Be meticulous with your file

Precision is your best friend in this process. Make sure that every document requested is not only present, but also perfectly up to date and in line with the consulate's specific requirements. The most common mistakes? ID photos that don't match the requested format, or financial documents that don't accurately reflect your situation. Take the time to check every detail.

2. Anticipate and organize

Never underestimate the time it can take to prepare a Schengen visa application. Between making an appointment, which can sometimes be a real challenge depending on the time of year, and collecting the necessary documents, it's best to plan well in advance. Leaving enough time before your travel date can also give you some leeway should you need to complete your file.

3. Present a clear itinerary

One of the key elements of your application will be to demonstrate your itinerary within the Schengen area. This includes not only your hotel reservations but also, ideally, a clear explanation of your itinerary and the reasons for your visit. A logical, well-planned itinerary can reassure the consulate that you intend to respect the conditions of your visa.

4. Show you're a reliable visitor

One of the main concerns of Schengen countries is to ensure that visitors leave the territory at the end of their visa. Providing evidence of strong ties to your home country, such as a stable job, property or family, can help convince you that you have no intention of staying beyond your visa.

5. Consider travel insurance

Travel insurance is not only a requirement for most Schengen visa applications, but showing that you have taken out insurance that goes well beyond the minimum requirements can also be a plus. It shows that you take your stay and any unforeseen situations seriously.

The easiest country to obtain a Schengen Visa

Lithuania

The search for the easiest Schengen visa leads us directly to Lithuania, a Baltic country that proves to be the all-round champion when it comes to obtaining this precious stamp. With an impressive acceptance rate of 98.7 %, Lithuania stands out as the most welcoming country for Schengen visa applicants. This high acceptance rate, combined with the fact that Lithuania receives fewer applications than tourism giants such as Germany or France, translates into an overall more pleasant experience for applicants. Fewer applications mean shorter waiting times for appointments and a rapid response on the status of your application. By choosing Lithuania as the gateway to the Schengen area, travelers can expect a simplified procedure, making this country a preferred option for starting their European adventure.

Iceland

When it comes to rolling out the red carpet for Schengen visa applicants, Iceland is unquestionably the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the arena. With a near-bottom refusal rate of 1.9 %, this land of fire and ice is not only a breathtaking natural spectacle, but also a champion of visa-esque hospitality. So, what goes on behind the scenes in this Nordic paradise to make it so welcoming?

  • A simplified process? With fewer applications to process than giants like France and Germany, Iceland can afford to be faster and more efficient in its visa processing. Less paperwork, more "yes" votes - perhaps that's Iceland's recipe for success.
  • Tourism or Sweet Diplomacy? : By opening its doors, Iceland invites the world to discover its treasures. It's a form of soft diplomacy that strengthens ties and encourages cultural exchange. After all, who could resist sharing the wonders of this country?
  • Strategy or philosophy? Is this a calculated strategy to boost tourism, or simply the Icelandic philosophy of hospitality and openness to the world? Perhaps a bit of both. What is certain is that Iceland is proving that generosity and hospitality can go hand in hand with security and border controls.
  • A Message to the World Iceland sends us a clear message - a visa is not just a document, but an invitation to explore, meet and discover. And with such a positive acceptance policy, that message has never been more appealing.

Comparative analysis of Schengen visa acceptance and refusal rates

When you delve into the world of Schengen visas, you discover a world of numbers that, properly interpreted, reveal potential strategies for future travelers. Let's take a closer look at what these figures tell us about where and how applying can influence the outcome of your application.

Champions of acceptance

Top 5 countries that like to say "Yes" to visas

CountryRequestsRefusalRefusal rate (%)Petit Plus
Iceland7 7151461.9The cold, but the super warm welcome!
Lithuania26 5562 0377.7Small but big on "yes"!
Latvia21 1401 9899.4Baltic charm that convinces.
Finland164 42715 5309.4The Northern Lights are worth a "yes".
Slovakia12 2111 1819.7A heart as big as the Tatras.
Figures and statistics 2022 / 2023
  • Iceland With a refusal rate of just 1.9 % for 7,715 applications, Iceland has positioned itself as a visa applicant's paradise. This figure suggests not only a welcoming policy but also a window on Iceland's unrivalled natural beauty, making it an attractive gateway to the Schengen area.
  • Lithuania and Latvia These Baltic gems offer more than just a rich cultural heritage and breathtaking scenery; they also boast enviable acceptance rates of 7.7 % and 9.4 % respectively. Their relative accessibility can be a godsend for travelers looking to explore Europe with fewer bureaucratic hurdles.
  • Finland and Slovakia With similar refusal rates of 9.4 % and 9.7 %, these countries show that a large proportion of applications have a positive outcome. Finland, despite a high volume of applications, maintains a high acceptance rate, underlining its efficiency and welcoming attitude.

More challenging terrain

Countries where Schengen visas are more difficult to obtain

CountryRequestsRefusalRefusal rate (%)Comments
Malta22 2757 91535.5The most demanding with applicants.
Sweden135 94638 65228.4Strict criteria in the face of strong demand.
Belgium171 96646 56927.1High input selectivity.
France1 918 515408 87621.3Popular, but with a high refusal rate.
Norway72 46314 71920.3Demanding, reflecting its popularity and standards.
Stats 2022
  • Malta With the highest refusal rate at 35.5 %, Malta is the strictest gatekeeper to the Schengen gate. This high rate may reflect a more rigorous visa policy or increased caution due to its growing popularity as a tourist destination and its small territory.
  • Sweden and Belgium These countries follow with refusal rates of 28.4 % and 27.1 %, which can be explained by their popularity and attractiveness as travel, study or work destinations, thus increasing the volume and competitiveness of applications.
  • France As the preferred destination attracting the highest number of applications, France has a refusal rate of 21.3 %. The combination of its worldwide popularity and the high volume of applications may contribute to a more rigorous selection process.

Strategies for applicants

This analysis reveals that choosing where to submit your Schengen visa application can significantly affect your chances of acceptance. Countries with high acceptance rates may offer less congested routes into the Schengen area, while more popular destinations require more careful preparation and potentially a Plan B.

Table of data on Schengen visas issued in 2022

No.Schengen stateUniform visa applicationsUniform visas issued (including MEV)Multiple uniform visas (MEV) issuedTotal LTV issuedUniform visas not issued
1France1 918 5151 428 228574 8363 521408 876
2Spain1 197 457912 325358 8988 448227 712
3Germany1 043 297817 307740 35652 158167 517
4Italy727 490629 223464 6743 23092 186
5Greece459 139386 371277 28610 06156 566
6Netherlands412 967333 074185 0171 94170 566
7Switzerland410 036319 841220 34540 93249 263
8Finland164 427142 302102 9542 58315 530
9Austria151 566125 27593 8161 76923 984
10Portugal150 915123 17471 39636027 378
11Hungary144 227122 47056 40526721 757
12Belgium171 966116 92766 13234246 569
13Czech Republic117 62499 65947 2501 02416 941
14Sweden135 94689 11229 9815 57938 652
15Poland83 11473 02342 3011 8779 841
16Denmark73 94756 40227 80510713 167
17Norway72 46356 30718 9461 43714 719
18Lithuania26 55624 09017 267482 037
19Latvia21 14018 88813 0331421 989
20Estonia23 15118 03314 663844 533
21Malta22 27513 7585 983437 915
22Slovakia12 21110 8766 1631501 181
23Slovenia17 6809 8328 0264 0833 085
24Iceland7 7157 4074295146
25Luxembourg6 9315 9924 36226709
Source : europa.eu/policies/

This table includes all 25 Schengen countries with details of uniform visa applications, visas issued, including multiple-entry visas (MEV), LTVs issued, and visas not issued.

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4 Responses

  1. alybadra says:

    How to obtain a visa

  2. Deye yaya doudou says:

    Bonjour madame ou monsieur j'ai l'honneur de vous ecrire pour demander un visa changent d'assister un conférences en Suisse à tao

  3. PINOBAT Ronald Corneille Vitik says:

    I would like to know what the procedure is for obtaining a visa to attend a conference or to study in Lithuania or Iceland. What is the procedure to follow?

  4. Marie Yapo says:

    I would like to have a visa to immigrate to Belgium

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