Article 32 of the Visa Code provides that a visa shall be refused if the applicant does not provide justification for the purpose and conditions of their stay. The Code further states that an applicant shall provide documentation indicating the purpose of the journey and of their accommodation. Appendix II of the Visa Code provides a list of documents an applicant must submit to prove the purpose of their journey.
For journeys undertaken for business purposes, this include invitation from a company to attend meetings or conferences, documents showing the existence of trade relations, entry tickets for fairs or events, documents showing business activities, and documents showing the applicant’s employment status in a company. For tourism or private reasons, this includes invitation from a host, travel itinerary, and tour and hotel bookings.
Nonetheless, majority of Schengen visas are refused on the ground that the applicant failed to provide justification for the purpose and conditions of their intended stay. Why is this so? A number of factors account for this.
- Failure to provide relevant documents showing the purpose of the visit.
If you fail to provide adequate documentation showing the purpose of your journey, your visa will be refused. For example, if you fail to provide documentation showing accommodation like an invitation from a host confirming accommodation or hotel booking, your visa will be refused.
- Where the declared purpose is not coherent with actual information provided
Your visa will be refused if there is incoherence in your stated purpose and the factual information provided. Examples cited by the Visa Handbook include the following: An applicant claims to visit a professional event on dates that do not correspond to the actual event. An applicant claims to visit a friend but it turns out that the person concerned is absent during the period. A trader in jewelry claims to attend a medical conference.
- The stated purpose is not credible
Some factors may cause the consulate to doubt the credibility of your stated purpose for the journey. For example, a person holds an invitation to attend a conference but fails to provide documentation showing that he holds a qualification relating to the subject of the conference. A large number of invitations from the same host may raise doubts on the credibility of your purpose. Applications following the same pattern or bookings made from same hotel may also raise doubts.
- Failure to provide adequate documentation to prove the existence of a claimed relationship.
It is not sufficient to just provide a formal invitation from a host as evidence of your intention for the journey. You must provide adequate documentation showing that you are genuinely related to the person. Appropriate documentation may include evidence that the host has made previous visits, photos showing you and the host, communication records, remittance receipts, and statements from you or third parties affirming the relationship.
- The stated travel dates contradict other documentation
On the visa application form, you are required to state your travel dates. Doubts may arise if your stated travel dates contradict other documentation showing purpose of journey. For example, an applicant states their travel dates on the application form as 20-12-2017 to 27-12-2017. However their hotel booking shows reservation from 21-12-2017 to 27-12-2017; or flight booking from 19-12-2017 to 27-12-2017. Such contradiction will cause the consulate to doubt the purpose of your stay.
- The Flight and Hotel reservation submitted has been cancelled.
The Consulate routinely checks the validity of hotel or flight booking when assessing an application. When they find, for example, that your hotel booking has been cancelled, this will imply that you have no documentation showing accommodation. Your visa will thus be refused. To ensure that your booking stays valid, do follow-up calls to the hotel to satisfy yourself that the reservation is valid.
As the discussion show, a number of factors may cause your visa to be refused on the grounds that you failed to provide justification for the purpose and condition of your intended stay. The burden of proof is on you to provide evidence to justify the purpose of your visit. Merely providing documentation listed by the Visa Code may not be sufficient. The documentation must be consistent with all other information provided in your application.
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 works for Acheampong & Associates, a law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on [email protected] or www.acheampongassociates.com