The number of Schengen visa applications submitted at the embassies and consulates of Schengen countries in the Russian Federation experienced a staggering 84 percent decrease in 2020, compared to the previous year.
From 4,133,100 Schengen visa applications submitted by Russian citizens in 2019, the number of applications decreased to only 653,764 in 2019, due to the closure of Schengen embassies and consulates in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, TheSchengen.com reports.
Data shows that the number of Schengen visas issued worldwide has also fallen shockingly due to the pandemic that has forced Schengen countries to stop issuing visas, especially for tourists and business travelers.
While in 2019, nearly 17 million people from third countries applied for a visa to enter the Schengen area, last year, the number of visas issued was less than three million (2924,365).
Despite the 82.7 percent drop in applications, the visa refusal rate rose from 9.9 percent worldwide in 2019 to 13.6 percent last year. The increase in the number of refused visas was also reflected in Russia, where the rate of rejected visas rose from 1.5 percent to 2.6 percent.
Russia remains the largest source country for Schengen visa applications
The pandemic may have affected the number of applications for a Schengen visa to decline as never before, however, Russia remains the country with the largest number of applications submitted.
While in 2019, about a quarter of applications (24.3%) for a Schengen visa were submitted in Russia, in 2020, 22.3% of all applications were submitted at the same embassies and consulates.
In 2019, and the other years before that, China was the second largest exporter of apps. However, due to the early outbreak of the epidemic in Wuhan, China, in 2020, Turkey ranked second with 229,282 applications and China third with 206,907.
The Finnish Consulate in St. Petersburg remains the busiest Schengen consulate even in light of the Corona virus
Even amid the pandemic, the Finnish consulate in Saint Petersburg is again the busiest Schengen consulate in the world, with the highest number of Schengen visa applications received worldwide.
According to Schengen visa statistics, a total of 97,026 applications were processed by this consulate, which is seven times less than in 2019 when it received 644,858 applications.
The second busiest consulate in Russia in 2020 was the Italian Consulate in Moscow, with 84,921 applications received, followed by the French Consulate also in Moscow with 73,453 applications received.
>> Finland records 83% drop in Schengen visa applications in 2020
About Schengen visas
A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows anyone to travel to any of the 26 members of the Schengen area, per stay of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.
It enables the holder to enter and travel freely in and out of the Schengen area from any of the Schengen member states.
There are 19 other countries that are not part of the Schengen area, however they allow foreign nationals from other non-Schengen countries to enter and reside in their territory, just by showing a valid multiple-entry Schengen visa.