Turkey: Schengen rejections double in 2023

Turkey: Schengen rejections double in 2023
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The chair of Turkish Travel Agencies Association has said that not only visa approvals have been dramatically slashed, but the cost of Schengen visa has also skyrocketed because of some unofficial service fees.

The rejection rates for Schengen visa applications by Turkish citizens have almost doubled in 2023 and the rate has approached 50%, the chair of the Turkish Travel Agencies Association (TURSAB) said on Thursday.

Stating that the situation was related "entirely to political reasons," TURSAB's chair Firuz Baglikaya said:

"The number of recent applications are actually below the number in 2019. They say the rejections are due to the granting of too many citizenship recently, but the birth places of applicants are obvious. This shows that the issuance of visas for Turkish citizens are restricted systematically and with political reasons."

Baglikaya complained that while it becomes more difficult to receive visas, some applicants have begun to pay extra money to hire a hand that will cue up a day before, and that the cost of Schengen visa has risen for many from the official cost of 80 euros plus a service fee of 20-30 euros to 450 euros.

"The agency lets you hire a hand who will cue up a day before and wait in the line," he said. "The customer pays an extra 350 euros for that. If you are a family of four, this means you will pay 1,400 euros for the service just to reach the end of the line, and you will also pay the official fees. It will amount to 1,800 for the family. And you do not have any guarantee that you will be allowed a visa. You can't have the money back when you are rejected."

He added:

"People do not want to invest for a travel that they might never have. The cost of visa are now higher than the cost for the travel."

He continued:

"Naturally people tend to travel to countries without visa requirements, which means that the current market has now narrowed down to only one fifth of the previous."

He noted that the applications of professionals like scientists and entertainment professional have also been rejected recently.