Migration and Home Affairs

Visa statistics: pandemic effect on short stay visas in 2020

Monday, 10 May, 2021

Figures published by the European Commission show that the consulates of the Member States and Schengen Associated Countries received around 3 million applications for short-stay visas in 2020, a considerably lower number than in 2019 (17 million). The global travel restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic expectedly led to a dramatic decline in the demand for Schengen visas worldwide.

Because of the global travel restrictions that were introduced in March and which generally still apply, the level of visa operations fell to an unprecedented low in 2020: 2.5 million visa issued (83% less than in 2019). The ranking of largest source countries remained almost unchanged but at very low levels: Russia: 2019: 4 million visa applications; 2020: 654 000. China: 2019: 3 million applications; 2020: 207 000; Turkey: (2019: 900 000 applications; 2020: 229 000), India (2019: 1 million applications; 2020: 168 000 applications), Morocco (2019: 700 000 applications; 2020: 180 000 applications.

While volumes of applications declined, the average percentage of visa applications that were refused increased slightly in 2020 but varied widely between countries, ranging from 0.3 % in Belarus, 1.2% in Botswana and 2.6% in Russia, to more than 50% in Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Senegal.

Worldwide, 13.6% of all visa applications were refused, 3.7 percentage points more than in 2019. 1.5 million or 62% of the 2.5 million visas issued in 2020 allow for multiple entries into the Schengen area, a share that despite the overall decline in numbers of applications remain stable compared the share the previous years.

In addition to the 2.5 million visas issued abroad, in 2020 the Schengen States also issued 54 000 uniform visas directly at the external borders. The full Schengen visa statistics since 2010 areĀ available online.