The options you may pursue against the refusal of your Schengen visa will generally be similar regardless of the ground for the refusal. In general, you may have 3 options. You may either:
- File an Appeal;
- Apply for a Review (provided the national allows it); or
- Make a reapplication for a visa.
Appeal the Decision
The right of appeal against the refusal of a Schengen visa is provided by law. Article 32(3) of the Visa Code provides as follows:
“Applicants who have been refused a visa shall have the right to appeal. Appeals shall be conducted against the Member State that has taken the final decision on the application and in accordance with the national law of that Member State.”
Procedure for making Appeal
The right of appeal is fundamental. You must conduct your appeal against the Member State that refused your visa. This will be the case if the Member State only represented the country you wished to visit. For example, the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana accepts applications for Schengen visa from residents of Ghana travelling to Portugal, Poland, Luxembourg, Austria, France, Hungary or Lithuania. If the Netherlands Embassy refuses your application to visit any of these countries, the appeal will be conducted in accordance with the national law of the Netherlands.
In all cases, the Notification of Refusal will specify the address to which your appeal must be lodged. Depending on the national law of the Member State, the time limit for lodging an appeal is between 4 to 8 weeks. You may file the appeal either by yourself or through an authorised representative. If you wish to use a representative, you must sign a letter authorising your representative to accept and receive correspondence on your behalf.
There is no fee for filing an appeal. You will not pay visa fee if a visa is issued. You may however incur costs if you decide to use a representative.
What to consider before making appeal
You must have valid grounds to dispute the decision. Merely saying that the decision is unfair without pointing out factual or legal errors will not wash. You must identify basis of fact or law that undermines the consulate’s decision.
In many cases, you will able allowed to submit additional evidence which was not part of your original application. This presents opportunity for you to amplify your case with further evidence. For example, if the consulate decided that your claimed relationship with your host was not substantiated with adequate documentary evidence, you may overcome the refusal with further evidence. You may submit additional evidence including photos, call records, messages, greeting cards, remittance, or statements from the appellant and the host detailing the relationship.
In the course of determining the appeal, the appellate authority may request you to provide further evidence. The time limit for submitting the evidence and the manner for submitting it will be specified in the request notice. You must promptly provide the evidence if available. If you cannot, state reasons why you are unable to do so and provide alternative or secondary evidence, if possible.
How long does it take for appeal to be decided?
The determination of an appeal can take several weeks or months. Appeals against Member States like Finland, Norway, and Denmark could take up to 12 months. An appeal is therefore not advisable if your reason for visiting is time bound or based on an immediate, pressing need. You may request a review or make a reapplication in such a case.
What happens if my appeal is successful?
If your appeal is successful, the original decision to refuse will be withdrawn and the new decision put in its stead. You and the consulate will be notified of the outcome. The decision may specify conditions for the issuance of a visa. If you do not meet the conditions within the timeline specified, no visa will be issued.
Some conditions include the presentation of a return air ticket, a valid travel medical insurance, a travel itinerary or a new document specifying the purpose of the journey. You may also be required to provide a specific document as a condition for the grant of a visa.
In this article, we considered the remedies following a refusal. We discussed the right of appeal, the procedure for filing an appeal, things to consider in deciding to appeal, amongst others. In our next post, we will discuss request for review and reapplication as alternative remedies to consider when your Schengen visa is refused.
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 Ghana, U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He is a Managing Partner for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, an immigration law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on [email protected] or www.acheampongassociates.com