NAIROBI - The European Union is set to generate millions of euros more from the high rejection rates of visa applications by African visitors with a new increase in non-refundable fees.

Citizens of the 26 member states within Europe’s Schengen area have unhindered borderless access to countries within the area, while most travelers from elsewhere require visas. A 12.5% price hike that takes effect on June 11 increases the cost of a short-term (90 days) visa application to €90 ($96.50).

But while the price hike applies equally to all non-EU residents who require a Schengen visa, it raises the prospect of the bloc making disproportionately more money from its rejection rates for applicants from Africa, analysts say.

Of the €130 million the EU earned in 2023 from rejected visa applications, about 42% of that was from applicants living in Africa, even though the continent accounts for 24% of Schengen visa applications, according to London-based research firm LAGO Collective.

Prospective visitors who apply from Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria receive rejection rates of between 40% and 50%, LAGO estimated, based on data from the European Commission’s migration and home affairs office.

“We found a relationship between the GDP of countries and rejection rates for short-term visas,” Marta Foresti, LAGO’s founder, told Semafor Africa. A similar rejection trend in 2024 with the new price would deepen long-standing inequality of outcomes between consumers paying for the same service from high and low-income countries, Foresti said.

 

 

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