My First Schengen Tourist Visa Experience [Rejected, Appealed & Approved]

By | June 22, 2023

Disclaimer: This article is written in a hope that these inputs may improve the system and not meant in anyway to hurt the feelings of any country/region/person.

Schengen Tourist Visa - Austria

I recently applied for my first Schengen tourist Visa through Austria and I learnt a thing or two about Schengen Visa’s and why it’s not easy to get, especially for single’s. Here’s everything you need to know about my Schengen Visa experience, in detail.

Visa Application

  • Day 1 – Application received in Pondicherry
  • Day 1 – Forwarded to Delhi Operation Centre
  • Day 6 – Received at Delhi Opertaion centre
  • Day 6 – Dispatched to the Embassy of Austria, New Delhi
  • Day 6 – Received at the Embassy of Austria, New Delhi
  • Day 13 – Received a “Verification Call” from the Embassy
  • Day 16 – Requested Embassy for Application statues, over email
  • Day 17 – “Passport with Letter” handed over to the VFS
  • Day 20 – Had to Visit VFS office to sign and pick up the passport along with the rejection letter.

There are 2 important incidents to note, happened on Day 13 & 17 and let’s see that in detail, one by one.

Call from Embassy

I’ve never heard from anyone that we may even get a call from the embassy. But to my surprise, I got one!

A lady in Indian tone spoke: “I’m calling from Austrian Embassy.. ” and verified my profile. She had all details in front of her. She was aware about the co-traveller and that he already has the visa, etc.

After verifying most details, she finally asked for the itinerary, line by line for the 9 day trip. I had to ask 30 seconds to find the itinerary and I started reading out line by line. She didn’t come up with any new query as such.

So after that’s done, she finally said “Okay, that’s all I need, Thank you!”.

While on call I assumed that she’s from some sort of VFS verification team, but I later found out that the call was coming directly from the Austrian Embassy Support Line.

Unfortunately, my Truecaller on iPhone didn’t show this upfront. Hmm!

Anyway, it was more like a credit card executive verifying the application information before they send for processing, nothing new and I wouldn’t call it as an “interview”.

Infact, credit card executives are better. They say “why” they are calling, and “when” I can expect the card, etc.

Passport with Letter

In India, if you’ve got the update from VFS as “passport with letter” is sent to VFS office, then in 99% of the cases it means it’s a REJECTION.

The worst part is that we’ve to pick it up from the VFS Office even if you’ve opted for the home delivery and paid courier charges.

So what this means is that, I need to travel all the way to Pondicherry again just to pick up the documents.

They won’t refund the courier charges paid.

This is probably the perfect situation to make use of the “chargeback” benefit on credit card I thought, but well, I spent 40X more to travel and pick-up the docs.

So I didn’t find sufficient motivation to do a dispute on partial amount.

Moreover, I felt lot better as I had seen even a worse case reported on Quora, where someone had to take a flight just to pick up the document, as the VFS office where it was applied was not far away from their hometown.

And if you ask “what they did at VFS?”

Well, they opened the package in front of me, asked to sign the rejection letter, took a scan copy of that and gave the original back to me.

Damn! I could have done that very well from home in matter of 10 mins, thereby saving time, energy, money and peace of mind.

This is such an UN-ACCEPTABLE practice!

The rejection letter

Now coming to the main part of the story, here’s a quick look at the rejection letter (edited to show only the main part of the letter).

It actually comes in 5 pages: 3 pages in their language and 2 pages in English, printed back to back on an ordinary paper.

Have a look:

The reasons are usually vague, as seen above. They don’t refer to any particular document, making it harder to decode the meaning.

Reason #10: From my understanding, this is outright pointless. I had a confirmed hotel reservation at some of the best premium/luxury hotels in the country & confirmed business class flights flying to/from Austria, from India.

And along with it I did send a beautiful itinerary document in a simple and clean tabular format as well.

Reason #13: By “first time traveler” they probably mean “first time traveller to Schengen Area”? I wish it’s more clear.

So the only reason is “Social & Economic Roots”. But what’s that?

  • Social Roots: Spouse/Family
  • Economic Roots: Work/assets/Bank balances

Speaking of this, we’ve to cover the most popular “Single’s issue” which is the heart of this whole article.

Single’s Issue

There has been a debate lately with many arguing online that Schengen countries don’t easily give tourist Visa’s to those with Marital status as “Single”.

It’s no longer a myth anymore. I’m a living proof that it’s indeed true!

The situation gets even worse if you’re self-employed. Because single affects social roots and being self-employed affects the economic roots.

So if you need a Schengen Visa with above status it becomes highly challenging, especially after 2021, for unknown reasons.

I’m aware of this already as I’ve seen an applicant with similar profile getting rejected for Schengen Visa. There are many such cases reported on forums.

There are also many ongoing debate that single “woman” are getting rejected across Schengen Countries. But I can now confirm that it’s NOT gender specific.

So this is happening because:

Single’s are high risk for the country in the eyes of Visa Officers.

This is not an assumption, but a confirmed fact by one of the Visa Officer at French Consulate, Kolkata who informed the same to an applicant during a personal interview. That’s right, a personal interview post appeal on Schengen Visa Rejection.

So how can Single’s deal with it?

You’ll need to have additional documents: mentioning about your parents in the covering letter, a guarantee letter from your parent that you’ll return back home & the net-worth/wealth statement or property documents if available.

Having said that, it still doesn’t mean that the Visa is guaranteed. But it certainly improves the social & economic roots to a certain extent.

Unfortunately I learned this only later after reading the rejection letter!

Neither the “document checklist” nor the “VFS officer” mention about this as a requirement for certain profiles. And oh, the “Visa officer” who called me from the Embassy didn’t care to ask if I have any more documents to support my socio-economic status.

Anyway, I prepared additional required docs and decided to go for an “appeal” because I was confident that I deserve the Visa and that I did not do any mistake.

FYI, I spent couple of hours just on the first “covering letter”, so I’m sure the issue is something else or just a mistake at their end.

Customer Service

One of the biggest shock is that Austrian Embassy don’t have a support line for consular/visa queries.

Yes, they do have a number and if you connect to that line and ask, the guy at reception (as he says so) attends the call and politely takes your number with name and says that he will forward it to the respective team.

Tried a couple of times but never got any callback. Tried the emergency line as well and the lady on phone again politely asks me to call embassy line for Visa queries. Hmm!

I couldn’t digest the fact that we pay ~10K fee for the Visa & formalities and that no one is there to even respond to our query.

So I called VFS and they were equally polite saying that Austrian Embassy only has email support for Visa queries and there is no TAT for the response.

Ideally, there is no one to speak to on Visa queries, no TAT for emails, nothing!

At this point I was wondering if it’s a “norm” in the industry where applicants are not allowed to speak to embassy reg. Visa queries.

Well, that’s not the case. I can see Indian Embassy in Austria having support lines for all queries. In-fact we have a system for generating application online and lot faster processing time for Austrian nationals willing to visit India.

An not to forget, Austria has proper support system on Visa enquires in other countries like USA. Here’s an example from an Austrian Embassy in Washington, USA:

That’s not just with USA, as I can see it with very many countries as well. So looking at all these, I’ve come to a conclusion:

Schengen Countries don’t want to see Indians on their land.

I seriously wonder how Indian government is allowing a foreign embassy to operate in India without proper support resolution system.

But again, it’s not their entire fault. I see that 1000’s of Indians have immigrated illegally to Austria in a year, in the past. I wish our fellow citizens honour the Visa rules.

But I don’t think this can be taken as a reason for providing almost “no support”. Maybe they can request for more documentation and not just automatically expect applicants to provide them in advance.

The Appeal

So finally knowing that they don’t generally respond to the appeal emails as reported by many online, I prepared all documents that’s humanly possible and sent the email to the embassy, as informed by VFS support.

I felt appeal is essential because a rejection for Visa is almost like a “black mark” (to an extent) globally which I’ve to live with it for rest of the life, as most countries ask for the info on previous Visa rejections along with their rejection letters.

About a week passed and no response to the email. So I did many calls both to the VFS & embassy but nothing helped.

As the travel date was nearing, one fine day I asked for escalation with VFS and the support executive on phone said that she’ll take a complaint on the same and get back within a day.

Next day, I got a call from VFS that I’ve an appointment at the “Austrian Embassy, New Delhi” on a mentioned date, along with an email confirmation from VFS.

At the Embassy

Austrian Embassy, New Delhi

So I went to the embassy on the mentioned date along with the print out of the email. The security had a quick look at the email and asked me to wait outside.

They had a small bench outside the embassy building, with good view of the greens. As you might know, the embassy area is quite well maintained, so that was a comfortable place to be in.

In about 15 mins, I was asked to enter the embassy building after leaving my mobile with the security.

Inside the building, there was a small waiting area with some travel catalogs of Austria displayed. I went through some and there I learnt that Austria has one of the highest per capita income across European countries (I guess 2nd for a particular year, which I don’t recollect).

That was an interesting info!

The Interview

So finally I was called for the interview, with two ladies on other side of the glass-walled interview setup area.

One lady is probably the senior, and the other was holding all my documents in her hand to pass the required info to the senior when required.

The senior came up with questions. She had a polite tone and the questions were basic. Apart from personal queries, she asked questions like:

  • “How will you travel within Austria?”
  • “How do you know where to book trains, etc?”

To those wondering more about questions, well, it actually doesn’t matter much. Even you (or) I can find within 30 seconds of conversation with a stranger, whether if he/she is trying to misuse the Visa or not.

So if you’re called for an interview, chill and go.

After the quick ~5 min interview, she asked for my passport and was asked to wait for few mins at the same waiting area.

Within 15 mins arrived my Schengen Visa with 3 month validity (multi-entry). Glad that they decided to give me a longer validity than usual 1-month or so for all the trouble I went through.

So few weeks after getting the Visa, I did my first Europe trip to Austria with smoother immigration on entry (was asked for return flight ticket proof).

Austria was beautiful as you can see on the cover pic. (Hallstatt, clicked 2 weeks ago) And overall Europe was a mind blowing experience, do you want me to write about it?

How Embassy’s could do better?

While exploring the internet about Schengen Visa issues, I stumbled upon 100’s of cases reported on online platforms (Quora & fb groups) and most of them are from India, Philippines & Indonesia. Understandable!

So having spent countless hours on the issue, it would be nice if all Schengen countries follow these below:

1. Visa support: If they can give better support & service to travellers in other countries like in USA, I’m sure Indians deserve it as well. A support line for Consular/Visa section, TAT for emails & faster processing would do.

2. Ability to Amend: The super simple solution is by allowing applicants to give an opportunity to ammend the application over email.

This is beautifully done by Croatia in the UK as per this proof I’ve come across on the internet, where the embassy reaches out to the applicant who didn’t even care to share the basic information. I’m sure many does it as well in other countries.

3. Online Application Form: It’s been 10 years or so since I’ve filled an application offline before this. I’m truly surprised to see that most of the Schengen countries still rely on hand-filled applications. Time to upgrade.

4. Transparent Appeal System: Given the stress that the applicant’s have to go through for the rest of their life when the Visa is denied, I wish they give proper reasons & means to appeal to the decision in a friendly manner.

In most cases this is not even required if #2 is implemented well.

5. Certify Tax Payers: If above has to be done by foreign embassy’s, Indian government also has to take a step to honour their loyal tax payers globally.

This is probably the only way to help foreign embassy’s know the credibility of the profile.

Instead of giving “proud filer” badge for taxpayers which is of no known use case, I wish they start issuing certificates to taxpayers that is “recognizable” across the globe.

Because I believe that a long term regular tax payer would not think about getting into a country illegally.

Final thoughts

Even-though the Schengen Visa issue is largely limited to singles/self-employed as mentioned in this article, it also affects everyone, as even couples/salaried I know are also going through similar kind of “uncertainty” & “fear” when applying for a tourist Visa to Schengen countries and some are getting rejected as well.

Also, while Austria is spoken about here, the issue applies to almost every Schengen country.

While these incidents only made me angry initially, I realised the need to have strict policies after visiting Austria. For ex, 2 out of 3 Uber bookings we did were handled by the drivers from Middle Eastern countries.

Anyway, I wish to live in a world where there are no Visa complications, unless for the matter of authentication to track the movement of people.

At the same time, I also hope our fellow humans learn to evolve and honour the immigration rules, as not honouring them is the primary reason for all these drama.

Until that happens, we probably have to find the Ancient One and learn the skills to do Astral Travel. Fortunately for us Kamar-Taj is located in Himalayas and not in Schengen Area.

Author: Siddharth

Helping Indians to choose right credit cards, pick right offers and enjoy luxury vacations for less. Day & night exploring the spiritual reality of our human existence.

99 thoughts on “My First Schengen Tourist Visa Experience [Rejected, Appealed & Approved]

  1. Abhi

    Similar story to share… Some years ago, my relatives’ had applied for visitor visa to UK which is generally granted for 6 months. They had furnished enough proof of properties that they owned in India and of their flourishing business and wanted to travel for less than a month duration. Yet their application was rejected. Reason given, they didn’t mention who will handle their business in their absence!! Their son was going to manage it but apparently UK embassy wouldnt know of their arrangement. We then realized it’s the Cover Letter which is nearly as important as the application itself and you are free to attach extra supporting documents and state such things which can’t be specified anywhere in the application. They believe what you write in your cover letter in your own format as much as the regular application. They expect to make out your intent from the covering letter and don’t want to see any contradictions with the application or any possibility that you won’t return after visiting their country. They clarifed their arrangement in an appeal, clearly on their cover letter, and visa was then granted.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Interesting. At-least good to see UK have a proper appeal system.

      Reply
      1. balajic

        Abhi’s comment must be added to your original post as footnote for its importance.

        Reply
      2. Ray S

        Hi Sid,

        I am surprised thay gave the right to appeal as in my case they did not even give that ! This after studying in the UK & honouring all previous visa conditions !

        Also, one can sure hide any rejection but not mentioning it ? The is most likely no way of finding out if not a schengen visa & not applying to another schengen country after refusal & then hiding the rejection ?

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          EU might share the approval/rejection records internally, others may not.

          Reply
          1. Romik Jain

            Hi Siddharth,

            I have a same exact case as yours. I wanted to know how long did it take you to go through the appeal process and get the visa in hand at the embassy.

  2. Rahul

    VFS global is useless , it exist for the sole purpose of earning money. their customer service is just zero. they don’t care about you or your time.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      They’re only a Document collector. But Embassy should have support system in place, which unfortunately is not happening.

      Reply
      1. Huz

        The VFS support is as useless as that of the embassy, i booked a priority appointment for the UK and had to change the application center so cancelled the appointment and booked a new one,

        The previous appointment amount was supposed to be “automatically” refunded however I had to endure 4 months of traumatic follow ups where stupid vague responses were given before it was finally refunded.

        So yes VFS is as bad infact worse.

        Reply
      2. Riddhi Shah

        Hi Siddharth. Recently my and my family’s Austria visas were rejected too. We have appealed, sent more documentation by mail, but its been a week, there has been no reply yet. How do you think I should proceed? How did you contact VFS for escalation, because we were only told by them to mail the embassy? Please help, travelling in a month.

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          You’ll have to ask for an escalation. Try calling VFS at different times of the day, as not all executives are aware of this.

          Reply
  3. sagar chatterjee

    Not sure why they rejected. Me and my friend we both single around 32 years old traveled on Schengen visa from ccu-fco-zrh-ccu that also as solo travel we didnt go in a group
    you need to submit good financial documents including fd certificates property docs and the best way is to get is to travel thru travel agency. Our passport were sent to delhi and it got approved. Also provide credit card statement and good covering letter. We went thru sotc. Good luck for next time

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      I didn’t miss FD & Infinia CC stmt either.

      Pre-covid it was relatively easy, post-covid something went wrong and they tightened the security way too much.

      Reply
      1. Dare Devil

        3 things happened post covid
        1. Covid itself. Basically European people does not think highly about Indians. They think we do not take enough care to stop covid propagation. So post covid, Schengen visas are difficult to get and even if you get it, it will be shorter than pre covid norms
        2. Due to covid, these countries, embassies were in lockdown and closed. Hence they could not make enough money. How do you cover that gap now? By rejecting more and making people reapply.
        3. Due to covid lockdowns, people delayed their plans and started applying after things improved. There is a sudden surge in visa applications.
        Even people saved 2-3 years domestic travel budget and converted that in a single foreign trip budget!!
        So embassies are now facing a huge backlog and employees crunch. So you see random rejections without enough attention to the application.

        Reply
  4. Alok

    Hi Siddartha,

    A good write up and a guide to understand for others specially singles what they need to look into it. But from what i have seen is the middle east country and Pakistan Bangladesh folks misuse the visa a lot and since they resemble us a bit Austrians think we are Indians. I have seen these where ever these three country folks go they create havoc. Hence the issue. When i was working for my friends brothers company he was single i used to get the shenegan visa done he was a regular visitor there were no issue. However foreign embassies are eratic, they give visas to ter*orists and fake stories of human rights or asylum and reject genuine touristers.

    All this issue is because of these three countries. You must have seen the havoc they created during covid times burning looting r*ping in austria when the gates were opened due to Germany insistence . That is why you saw middle easterns driving taxis . No offence to any but this is the reality.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      That’s very true, Alok. I got to know about this very info after getting into the country, not from anyone but just by paying attention to what’s happening around. Surprise to see our assumptions to be right from you.

      I’m sure it’s ruining the experience of Austria or maybe across Europe. The “asylum” thing has affected badly I guess. Hope it doesn’t get any worse.

      Reply
      1. SH

        I dont think that affect Indian applications. Austrians are smart enough to know the difference. And for the asylums, they are taking them for a reason and countries which have good integration system have lesser problem than others.

        Reply
      2. Romil

        Hello Siddharth,

        I am a journalist, and I am writing an article covering EU’s migration policy and the public perception amongst Indians about it.

        Do you mind if I quote your statement on this comment and the above article about Middle-eastern migrants? (Of course, with attribution to this blog). Please let me know.

        Thanks,
        Romil

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          Prefer not to be quoted. Because I feel it’s of no use. Those at the top knows it and a coverage on this aspect may do no difference.

          Reply
  5. Bharat

    Hi Sid,

    Do / did you have other country’s visa? I hv noticed no rejection if you have / had other countries’ visa.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Yes, like 4, but not from first world countries.

      Reply
    2. Sudipto Ray

      Wrong ! I have an US 10 years visa, and I studied in the UK & have met all visa conditions, came back after my studies, did not ever overstay, yet uk still rejected my visa this time, even after having established presence as a student at Regents london ! They did not even give me the right to appeal ! It’s random ! they don’t even look your supporting documents properly !

      Reply
  6. Vaibhav

    Hey! Thanks for the article. Guess it needed to be said. What made you consider appeal over re-apply? How much was the appeal fee?

    For instance, in my case, me and my wife’s visa was rejected by the Hungarian embassy on grounds of same reason #10 (paid Airbnb receipt was provided) and also lack of ‘valid insurance’ when the provider was very much there in the official schengen list of insurance companies. I have re-applied for the visa again (fingers crossed) as the appeal fee is just the double of application fee :/

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      What made you consider appeal over re-apply?
      All live business class flights & premium hotels. Decent intl travel profile. I felt it was discarded by some “fresher” who didn’t go through the doc’s well. Also had strong additional docs to share.

      How much was the appeal fee?
      Nil for Austria, policies vary with country.

      Reply
  7. Avinash

    My experience has been with business visas (twice). I guess that is another story as there is a fixed business agenda, invitation letter, etc. So went by extremely smooth both times (offered 1 month multiple entry the first time, and 6 months multiple entry the next time).

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Business Visa’s are usually smooth, as the inviting company is held responsible.

      Reply
  8. Ashutosh

    Surprised to see that your Visa was rejected in first go. They should have ideally called for interview instead of rejecting. My tourist Visa was processed in Austrian Embassy in like 2 working days. I will be traveling to Halstatt in 2 weeks. Do post your experience there with itinerary, tips etc.

    Reply
  9. Manoj singh

    I got my Schengen visa within 2 days of application on urgent basis. I got it twice. But yes good financials are must.

    Reply
    1. Riddhi Shah

      How did you get it in 2 days? Is there a fast track way to do so?

      Reply
  10. Dare Devil

    Best thing to get any visa is researching how Visa gets rejected and add all additional required, non required documents in the application.

    Also, try to explain
    1. how you will not be a burden on foreign govt
    2. why you will definitely come back (never ever forget to attach your return ticket)
    3. How will your dependents make ends meet in your absence in your country. (Best way to convince them is to prove you don’t have any dependents)

    Reply
  11. Ragini

    My husband and I have gone through the exact same rejection reasons from the Austrian embassy last month. We are both doctors, I am a visa medical officer myself and my husband has his own private practice. The VFS people have made my husband the primary applicant twice now, they say it’s an embassy rule. Ours probably got rejected as he was the primary applicant and he’s self employed. We have reapplied and it’s been 10 working days now. No update yet.

    Reply
  12. Mahendra

    Hi Sid,
    I went through ThomasCook. They take care everything. It was smooth for me.
    Only only thing, in Mumbai airport Indian officials held us for 1 hour later they gave clearance without asking any questions.

    I guess now thomas cook closed its operations.

    Reply
  13. Pavan

    Many years back, Canada rejected my tourist visa. A year before that I had received the visa and had in fact travelled to Canada and returned within a week. So I was a bit surprised to see a rejection, that too with a reason that says my conduct last time was questionable or something like that.

    I appealed in a strong worded letter. They asked me to come to Delhi for in person interview. During interview, they accepted that it’s a mistake on their side and some intern hire messed up my application. The visa was granted and I was saved from having a dark mark on the passport 😊

    Reply
  14. Shivi

    Nothing to do with your documents, Sid…… It’s just our “skin colour” & “single” stamp on our passport details that leads to rejection.

    Reply
  15. Iftakhar

    So now this website is no longer card expert but hotel and travel expert.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      After all, we collect points to travel isn’t it?

      Reply
  16. NASREEN NILOFER

    We had as a family applied for a Schengen visa to France and it was rejected. It was a simple tourist visa. We had booked a customized package through MakeMyTrip. We had paid a booking amount of 2.5 lakhs.
    After the visa for rejected stating that the intent of your travel was not clear, I was worried about the booking amount paid. Now they won’t refund it back to us and top of 35000 paid for visa charges.

    This has really lefte wondering is this really worth it. Apart from the mental harassment and stress that Schengen visas inflict the financial loss is also enormous.

    Before the booking I had no idea that Schengen visas are so unpredictable. Also we had submitted all the documents including NOC and property documents. My husband is self employed and bank balance was also sufficient. Steps should be taken to curb this .

    Any advise on this. Our travel date is in mid july

    Reply
  17. Harsh Jain

    Last yr I got my first schengen visa from France for 2months back when I was single. I traveled 1 month with family and 1 month solo, did not face any issue with visa and was given almost instantaneously.

    I did receive call from embassy too. Overall it was a fine experience for me.

    I won’t go as far as to say that they don’t want Indians there as I have seen, met, and partied with a lot of Indian solo travelers when I was backpacking across the Europe.

    Reply
  18. AAJ

    Similar exp. for Swiss (Schengen), but for work/business. Reason: no sufficient lead time for travel (they needed more than 2 weeks after which the travel should be planned). It was some yellow colour letter, not recall mentioning any rejection etc. So resubmitted with new tickets and it was approved. This was pre covid.

    Reply
  19. Dev

    Hi Sid, appreciate this post. I have been following your website since years and somehow I feel you are drifting from the core philosophy here.
    Don’t see too many posts from you on the new credit card launches but more on travel and lounges. And somehow this has all coincided with devaluation of hdfc and other premium cards.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Glad you’re here for long, Dev.

      Probably we’re having different philosophies. 😉

      Honestly, I feel Magnus or multiple Magnus (like, in family) is sufficient to play a grand game. Everything else is only a noise at the moment. We’re running out of time, the game is going to end soon. This means lower earn rate and devalued miles. We’re probably in a lifetime that no human would every dream of.

      Hence not wasting time on Reglia Gold or Infinia reserve for that matter. But will certainly cover them when time permits. Until then, focus on better value and redeem Edge Rewards for lifetime experiences. 🙂

      Reply
  20. Shivakiran Kumaraswamy

    Hi thala

    I’m a long time reader of your articles and I would credit my deep dive into the cards and points to your articles. I owe it to you right from my first HSBC Platinum card to Magnus now and the insight to lounges etc.

    Just wanted to point out that your articles already provide enough content for any novice to go through and get themselves more than acquainted to the nuances and make them ready to play the points game.

    Like you said, with Magnus/Infinia etc in hand one would not be interested to go through an article on a new entry level card launched. Instead it would make more sense to know the ways to utilise the points accrued and this article along with the articles on FF program redemptions is a welcome break from the usual card reviews which we see in your site.

    I’ve been to Austria twice on tourist visa, once when I was single and once after marriage, both before covid. Experience was very smooth unlike your case. I fell in love with Europe and would visit again next year.

    I would love to read your review on Austria visit, places you visited/would want to visit, worthy off beat locations not yet explored by tourists, mode of travel within (taxi, rental car, public transport etc), places to stay (usage of points for stay say Accor, IHG, Marriott etc), food (veg and non veg options, Indian (south?) food for people like me who would crave for dosai, idly, sambar, rasam etc, how you managed the lunch and dinner, tips for insurance, mobile phone/data when in international roaming etc. I would love your inputs on some of these topics as well and it’s the experience (with more pics :)) that we would like to read from your articles.

    A card expert need not only be an expert on cards but would need to keep using the card benefits accrued to stay motivated in the game. After all we earn to burn.

    Reply
  21. Abhishek Singh

    Do not ever raise dispute on VFS as it will create hurdles in future application. March 2020, peak of the COVID, my Swiss visa wasted, I thought of the same but VFS guy told me that in future they will not accept application from me on same passport number.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Oops, thanks for the valuable input. Glad I didn’t.

      Reply
  22. Jayesh

    Glad you got it after appeal. However, Embassy and VFS both are quite poor in their service. I am staying in the UK, when I apply for Schengen, the Embassy of any country says go to VFS for Visa queries and VFS says they are intermediary while decision lies with embassy. They don’t even have phone number of embassy of European countries here. I got my Visa late, a day after I was supposed to fly. Made complaints to embassy and VFS, nothing happens.

    Reply
  23. Alam

    I just applied for Schengen visa for Austria, and this article came handy at the right time. Thanks very much for this post.

    Reply
  24. Krishna

    A well-written article, Siddharth. Thanks for sharing your experience. It would be of great help to those who want to travel to Europe.

    Reply
  25. Swagat Banerjee

    Siddharth, truly feel bad for your harassment. Given a number of EU countries are in a technical recession. At some point, as a paying customers, we have to collectively avoid Schengen countries, until they realize they need the business. I am based in Singapore and have decided not to be harassed by such archaic and bureaucratic processes until they pull up their socks.
    I actively try and find alternative destinations with beauty, and history which can be an alternative to the EU’s messed up visa application process. There are so many countries that value me and my hard-earned money. I would rather spend with them.

    Reply
  26. DR

    Seems to be a common theme of countries not wanting single people to travel!
    I was given a similar reasoning last year when I applied for a Singapore tourist visa for the F1 race i.e. the embassy is very strict and will not give an unmarried person esp. woman a visa without a) letter from work b) letter from father. This was frustrating but thankfully my parents are still around to give me a letter, but does that mean when they have passed no visa will be granted on grounds of no family ties?!
    I should add that it was not my first Singapore visa – I’d traveled twice previously on tourist visa, and twice pre-covid for work.
    Conclusion: get married or you won’t get visas 😆

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Oops, Singapore too! That’s a surprise.
      So they asked for one and it went through? Meaning it’s an appeal/correction (or) re-apply?

      Btw, if parents are no more, I think a reference from high rank recognisable government officer would help, maybe via relatives/friends.

      Reply
      1. DR

        The travel agent I went through was insistent that it will be definitely rejected if I did not provide a no objection letter from my father. Cited other recent examples with other clients the agency had. Chose to believe them because of shortage of time, and they didn’t benefit anything from a letter (no extra money gained) – didn’t dare risk the alternative 🙂
        Visa came through in 3 days, but a very short duration of 3 months. In previous SG visas I was granted a visa of 1 year multiple entry.

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          Got it. Meanwhile 3 months is also a surprise again, as I see many getting 2 yrs multiple entry.

          Reply
          1. Jai Veer Singh Jadaun

            Singapore grants 2 year multiple entry visas to all passport holders from metro cities. Tier 2 and Tier 3 city passport holders are granted 1-3 months multiple entry visa generally. This has been told to me by the agency approved by Singapore embassy in New Delhi. I have more than 10 Singapore visas in the past and requested for 2 year multiple entry to avoid hassle of application again and again. But still they won’t give 2 year multiple entry visa.

    2. Ram

      Did you have any first world travel history on your passport when you applied for Singapore visa?

      Reply
      1. DR

        Yep – My prior travel history includes business trips to the US, Europe, Singapore, as well as personal travel to the US, Europe, and Australia.
        Have never been denied a visa.

        Reply
  27. Amit Srivastava

    Hi Siddharth,

    I and 2 of my friends had applied for Schegen Visa for Austria and got a refusal with the same reasons as you had received.
    Could you help me to answer the below questions so that I can decide on my trip that is to begin in September first week. I would really appreciate your help –
    – How long did your appeal process take ?
    – Could you elaborate on the process to appeal and was there any appeal fee involved ?
    – Could you please let me know what exact set of documents did you additonally send on the reasons they provided while appealing for it?
    – Would you recommend that I apply fresh from a different country or go with the appeal process ?

    Thank you so much in advance. Waiting for your prompt reply.

    Reply
    1. Rishabh Agarwal

      Hi Amit,

      Did you receive the same status ‘Letter with passport….’?

      Thanks,
      Rishabh

      Reply
      1. Amit Srivastava

        Hi Rishabh,

        Yes. The same status. Letter with Passport has been sent to VFS.

        I’m thinking of reapplying but unsure.

        Reply
    2. Prachi Purswani

      Hi Amit,

      Did you finally put an appeal/ or re-apply.

      My visa for Austria also got rejected today and considering appealing against it

      Reply
  28. Ajay

    In the past few years, I have successfully applied for UK( twice ) , Schengen visa (twice ), and Australia visa ( one ). Honestly speaking and thankfully I have not faced any issues. In fact this year my UK visa was granted in 5 working days and the Schengen visa from The Netherlands took 4 working days.

    I feel there are are a few simple things to take care of
    1. A proper cover letter is a must.
    2. The financial proofs should be clear and sufficient. No sudden influx of money in your accounts. A steady balance helps.
    3. Strong roots in India and to highlight the fact that you will return to your life here in India, for this an endorsement and leave of absence letter from your organization is a must.
    4. Lastly, if you can arrange an invitation letter from friends/family, nothing like it. I have almost neve seen anyone with an invitation letter getting rejected.

    Happy Travelling

    Reply
  29. G Shah

    I got Visa from Austria in 2 days last week. It is the first timer’s problem when it comes to Schengen Visa. When I applied for the first time in 2016, I was called for an interview by Netherland Embassy in Delhi. But once you have Schengen on your passport, it becomes very easy next time onwards. When I applied in 2019 from Sweden, I received in 2 days.

    If you are applying for the first time, you should apply from Germany or France, as they are more lenient in handing out Visa. Also, they conduct interviews at their Consulate, so you need not travel to Embassy in Delhi.

    The second thing, I was told, is to show internal travel bookings to show how you commute between locations you are staying in. They are really not bothered if you have booked expensive hotels/flights or it is non-refundable. If you are first time applying to Schengen, ready to face some scrutiny. Previous visits to countries like Thailand, Dubai does not help strengthen your case. Unless you have US visa, nothing helps.

    Reply
    1. rahul

      How easy it is to get schengen with US visa and trip documented on passport

      Reply
      1. G Shah

        I had a friend who had US visa and a trip history to US. He was still called for an interview as Schengen was for the first time. So very hard to generalize. However, interviews were very common before Covid. I dont know if the situation has changed now.

        Reply
    2. balajic

      Earlier I had business visa of spain. SO, for personal trip how easy it will be for me to get visa and my dependents like spouse and kid?

      Reply
  30. Alam

    Hi Siddharth,
    I have Amex Platinum, Axis Reserve & Magnus, IDFC Wealth, and IndusInd Pinnacle credit cards. May I please know the best card to use in Austria? Or would you recommend using a Forex card instead? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Big topic. But with your options, I would say Magnus.

      Reply
      1. Keshav

        Siddharth Ji I have asked you a question about my mother father Austria Schengen visa rejection ?
        Please tell me about that ?

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          There could be so many factors, tough to generalize. Do check with the travel agent in your city, as sometimes location might be the issue and the local travel agent would know if that’s the case.

          Reply
      2. Alam

        Hey Siddharth, with the recent devaluation of Magnus, would you still recommend using the card for international spendings? Also, which would be the one card you’d pick for international spending?
        Thanks! 🙂

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          No more. Better to go for Forex card or Infinia.

          Reply
          1. Aka

            But magnus is yet to be devalued ..isn’t it ?

  31. Akshat

    Informative
    What happens to future applications and ‘visa ever rejected’ question;

    Would you now put rejected but put successfully appealed in remarks
    or do you input not rejected in that column.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      It’s reversal of decision, ideally it means approved, so don’t need to share the complete story.

      Reply
  32. Keshav

    Hi Siddharth,
    Can you please tell how long was the process of appeal? As this rejection was made twice on my father mother also. When I reapplied the application with all Proffing including Net Worth certificate, investment documents, concern and guarantee letter from my fathers company, concern and guarantee letter from my son and his company and are property papers. Still i got the refusal stating the same reasons.
    So please help me out that what should I do now? Should I appeal or re apply again.

    Reply
  33. VD

    I came across this article at CNT Traveler, regarding the number of Visa rejections and how much it has cost the Country. Summarizing it below:

    A total of 6,71,928 Schengen visa applications were filed at consulates and visa centres in India last year (2022). Out of these, 1,21,188 applications were rejected, with a rejection rate of 18%. While the number is lower than India’s 2021 rejection rate (23.3%), it is still higher than the average rejection rate across the world, which stood at 17.9% in 2022.

    In India, the visa application fee for an Indian citizen above 12 years of age with an ordinary passport is €80 or Rs7,200. The figure varies for children below 12 years of age, students and representatives of non-profit organisations and nationals of other countries. While the current data does not reveal demographic statistics, for perspective, a seven-grand fee per applicant would mean that India invested approximately Rs480 crores in visa applications last year. With 1,21,188 applications rejected, Rs87 crore out of this was lost to trips that never happened.

    Reply
  34. Shikha Chaudhary

    Hi Siddharth

    My visa is rejected with reason 10 – The information submitted regarding justification and purpose of stay not reliable. I am also looking to appeal, my travel plan is with my husband and son. While we submitted all details including tickets, hotel stay and itinerary they still have rejected same. It would be really helpful if you could share your appeal letter format so that I can leverage same for my appeal

    Reply
  35. Yaswanth

    Not sure if rules where changed post covid.
    Before covid I got Schengen visa stamped with 3 years validity and some of my colleagues have it for 5 years.
    Mine is stamped for 3 years because of passport validity.

    I applied through French embassy UK.

    Reply
  36. Varsha

    Sir, my Schengen visa applied via Austria has been rejected with the above reasons mentioned in your thread.
    I have send the appeal via email,
    Do I have to send it via post or actual mail ?
    Kindly suggest

    Reply
  37. Prachi Purswani

    Hi Siddharth ,

    Firstly thanks for this detailed post. This definitely gives some hope !

    Me and my husband applied for an Austrian Visa last week and got the refusal today on the exact same grounds as you mentioned.

    Could you please elaborate on the following
    – How long did your appeal process take ?
    – Could you please let me know what exact set of documents did you additionally send on the reasons they provided while appealing for it?

    It will be really helpful if you could help us with the same. We intend to travel on 25th August for 2 weeks. All of our bookings have been made and a lot of our savings are at stake.

    Really appreciate any help.

    Reply
  38. Abhishek Patel

    Hi Siddarth

    Just went through your article , and its the same case for me (also even i had to take a flight to Mumbai just for get a rejection)
    Its the same case as yours can you please provide/guide me on appeal letter and further process . as my flight is on 18th aug and all booking are prepaid

    Reply
  39. Shree Vardhan Mundhra

    You think that this is bad? There are countries like Ecuador and Paraguay that have a completely ridiculous and whack visa process. Ecuador removed India from its list of visa-free countries in August 2019 a few days after I had visited for the first time.

    Getting a visa since then has been damn near impossible due to the ridiculous visa requirements and the amount of time they will take.

    Reply
  40. Pragyan

    I applied from Germany consulate and got passport with visa in 8 days. I applied for myself (Self employed), Wife (salaried) and my infant son.

    Documents provided for finance – For me -GST Certificate, 3 months bank statement and forex card statement as travel expense. Last 2 years ITR. For wife – 3 months salary slip and 2 years ITR.

    Documents provided for travel plan – Itinierary, car rental booking, idp, hotel booking details of all days.

    From my research, I feel like it is better to apply from Germany, France or Switzerland for first time visa than other countries, As these countries are little lenient.

    A small tip. Dont opt for sms service, it is waste. Same message you will receive in email.

    Reply
  41. Sanchi

    Hi Sidharth. I had applied for my France visa twice, it was a study visa but got rejected two times by the same consulate. I’m so confused right now, so helpless at this point. I tried calling VFS but no response whatsoever. Could you please let me know what exactly does a person need to do in order to put in an appeal? Every website shows a different approach. 🙁

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Unfortunately Study Visa is not something I can comment about.

      Reply
      1. Sanchi

        Oh! Could you please tell me how did you put an appeal? Like is there an email address where I have to send the appeal letter.

        Reply
  42. Shreyas Ghadyalji

    I have also got a call from Austria embassy just 2 days back from the same number. They were just crosschecking my details. The lady also asked me- Are you travelling first time to Schengen? For which I said Yes. She asked me my full name, about my job, expenses, and asked if I have any relatives in Austria. She also asked me- could you please tell me name of some tourist attractions in Vienna? She also asked me my HR email ID. I have provided them with the same. That’s it and she put the call. I don’t know what they are going to do the next. I haven’t heard anything from them since 2 days. I have applied for Schengen tourist visa from Austrian embassy.

    Reply
    1. Hitesh Gurnani

      Hi Shreyas,
      Did you got the visa from Austria.? I have also applied for the same on 06th Oct. for Austria Schengen Visa.
      Thank you

      Reply
  43. Vimal

    I have called VFS many times to know the status of my appeal but they say they won’t have any idea and all I can do is wait for the Austrian embassy to reply. I also asked them for escalation and it’s still the same response. How did you get them to take your complaint?

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Call at different times of the day.

      But from what I see from others facing same issue with VFS, it appears that I was quite lucky. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a way to replicate it.

      Reply
      1. Tanisha

        Hi Siddharth
        I’ve got the call from embassy and the woman was asking questions about the travel plan. Today I got a mail that a letter with passport has been received at the visa application centre Delhi.
        I am scared now. Will they reject my visa ?

        Reply
  44. ajay

    Hi I applied tourist visa Spain. 18th oct submitted bls Chennai. 25th oct my docs received embassy. That day itself I got a call. I missed the call because of travel. My wife also got a call she also missed the call. She is in duty nurse. I’m feeling nervous that I got rejection because I did not attend the call!!?!

    Reply
  45. Anush

    If we appeal is it mandatory to visit Austrian embassy for interview?

    Reply
  46. jatinder kaur

    Hi Siddharth,
    Our visa was also refused by the Austrian embassy.
    I would like to know what documents did you submit with your appeal.
    Will be great help if you can guide.
    Thanks

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *