Turkey overtakes Russia in Schengen visa applications to become Europe's largest source of applications in 2022. While more than 700 thousand applications followed from the citizens of the Republic of Turkey, Russia entered the top three in terms of the number of refusals to enter the EU countries (details here), the Schengenvisainfo portal reported.
The total number of applications for Schengen, filed last year was more than 7.5 million. This is 55% less than in pre-Covid 2019, but still significantly higher than the last two years combined.
Although Turkey ranked first in the table, the number of citizens applying for visas decreased by 14% compared to 2019. According to Besart Bayrami, the founder of the portal, the main factors that contributed to Turkey becoming the largest source of Schengen visa applications are the reduction in the flow of applications from the Russian Federation amid sanctions, and not the increased number of Turks wishing to enter the Schengen countries. Moreover, the republic's hopes for a close agreement on a visa-free regime with EU member states remain weak. Nevertheless, last year the Turks were most interested in Germany, Greece and France.
The top 5 Schengen applicant countries last year are as follows:
- Turkey – 778.409 applications
- Russia – 687.239 applications
- India – 671.928 applications
- Morocco – 423,201 applications
- Algeria – 392,053 applications
The expert also admitted that in the 2023 season Russia will drop even lower in the table, if the sanctions against the Russians are not lifted. As for another contender for the top Schengen visa issuer, China, next year it can push Turkey aside and take its place. “Although the interest of Chinese tourists in visiting Europe is not yet the same as before the pandemic, in 2023 the number of Chinese tourists will certainly increase, and there is a chance that the country will soon be in the first place in the list,” Bayrami explained. In the meantime, according to the report, tourists from the Middle Kingdom ranked only 22nd in terms of the number of Schengen applications.
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