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Top 5 Schengen Countries for Short-Term Visa Applications in 2023 and Their Main Source Countries


The number of Schengen Visa applications filed worldwide has increased to 10,327,572 in 2023, 36.3 per cent more than the number of applications filed a year before in 2022.

Yet, data by Schengen Visa Statistics show that the number of applications still remains below 39 per cent the pre-pandemic levels, when in 2019 alone 16,955,541 applications were filed.

In spite of the year-on-year increase, and numbers remaining lower than pre-COVID, one thing has not changed almost at all – the top favourite countries of applicants to apply for a Schengen visa at, SchengenNews reports.

In 2023, five Schengen Area Member States received 7.2 million applications together, accounting for around 70 per cent of the total. These countries and the number of visas they received in the same year are:

  1. France – 2,625,846
  2. Germany – 1,459,560
  3. Spain – 1,413,222
  4. Italy – 1,108,035
  5. Netherlands – 669,291

In fact, for years now, France and Germany have usually occupied the two first positions in this list, while Italy and Spain have each occupied one of the following three. Instead of the Netherlands, in 2022, Greece was listed fifth.

France Remains the Number 1 Country for Schengen Visa Applications for Another Year in a Row

Since the EU started keeping track of Schengen visa applications received by the Member States altogether, France has always been the number one country for the highest number of applications filed worldwide, accounting for at least one-fifth of them.

According to Behar Sadiku from SchengenVisaInfo, the drop in the number of visa applications filed in Russia and China over the past year at the French visa centres in these two countries has not threatened France’s first position in this list, further explaining why.

The top two sources of applications for France, which are Morocco and Algeria, have remained steady in the past years. Though the number recorded is still lower than before the pandemic, in particular for Algeria, it is still in line with the overall drop in Schengen visa applications worldwide.

Behar Sadiku, Global Travel, Tourism, & Hospitality Expert

Data by Schengen Visa Statistics show that Morocco was the number one source of visa applications for France in 2023, with 310,057 applications filed, followed by Algeria with 279,005 applications.

The top five list for France further consisted of China with 271,111 applications, India with 176,237, and Saudi Arabia with 145,096.

In total, France received 2,625,846 visa applications in 2023.

Germany Back to the 2nd Position After Being Listed 3rd in 2022

In 2022, Germany dropped into the third position, after it was replaced by Spain. According to Dion Pllana from SchengenVisaInfo, this change in positions happened due to the visa restrictions imposed by Germany on Russian citizens.

Germany became stricter in issuing visas for Russians, in particular for tourists, after the start of the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Spain, on the other hand, was more generous to Russian tourists, what prompted it to be listed second.

Dion Pllana, Global Travel Trends Analyst

In 2023, however, Germany came back to the second position with 1,459,560 visa applications received. The top five source countries of Schengen visa applications for Germany in the same year were Türkiye with 253,462, China – 160,479, India – 132,825, Belarus – 52,301, and Egypt – 46,991.

Spain, Italy Remain Part of the Top 5 With Over 2.5 Million Visa Applications Together

Spain and Italy remain two Schengen countries that continuously spark a high interest amongst Schengen visa applicants worldwide, mainly for vacationers who want to spend their holidays tanning it their beaches, or visiting one of their hundreds of castles, old towns, and other tourism attractions.

In 2023, the top source countries for applications for Spanish short-term visas were Morocco (189,126), China (148,533), Algeria (127,534), Russia (116,384), India (91,863). In total, Spain received 1,413,222.

In 2019, on the other hand, the top source countries for Spain were also the same ones, though in a different order, with Russia alone topping the table with 568,681 applications.

Fourth in the list of top countries receiving the most Schengen visa applications is Italy, with 1,108,035 visas received in 2023. The largest share of applications, 506,038 of them, were filed in the following five countries:

  • China – 143,648
  • Russia – 143,517
  • Türkiye – 125,428
  • India – 52,332
  • Saudi Arabia – 41,113

Amongst them, India had the highest rejection rate at 14.2 per cent, followed by Türkiye with 8.7 per cent. The overall visa rejection rate for Italy in 2023 was 12 per cent, with the majority of the Schengen countries having quite a higher rejection rate.

Netherlands Becomes Part of the Top 5 for the First Time in Years

While recording a much lower number of visas than the country in the prior position, the Netherlands is still listed as the fifth most desired Schengen destination by visa applicants.

The Dutch visa centers worldwide received a total of 669,291 applications in 2023, with 93,870 of them being filed in Türkiye. Another 83,556 were submitted in India, while in Indonesia the Dutch authorities marked 52,276. The top five consists of China and the Philippines with 50,983 and 45,224, respectively.

In 2019, before the COVID outbreak, the Netherlands had received 739,248 applications, and was listed eighth, with a rejection rate of 13.1 per cent, one of the highest amongst all the Member States. In 2023, the country marked an even higher denial rate at 17.3 per cent, with only a few other countries like Belgium and Sweden having a higher one.

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Monte OZ
Monte OZ is a highly accomplished and respected international freelance journalist, travel and active adventure reporter, and leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger based in Africa. With a passion for storytelling, a sense of adventure, and an eye for all things captivating, Monte has become a prominent figure in the world of travel, entertainment, and lifestyle journalism. Born and raised in Africa, Monte developed a deep appreciation for the continent's diverse cultures, rich heritage, and vibrant entertainment scene. His upbringing fueled his desire to share Africa's untold stories and showcase its dynamic lifestyle to a global audience. Monte's extensive experience and expertise have made him a sought-after authority on all things related to travel, adventure, entertainment, and lifestyle in Africa. As an international freelance journalist, Monte has made significant contributions to various prestigious publications worldwide. His captivating articles, insightful interviews, and engaging features have graced the pages of leading entertainment magazines, lifestyle publications, and reputable news outlets. Monte's unique ability to capture the essence of Africa's entertainment and lifestyle scene has garnered widespread acclaim and recognition. With a love for exploration and a thirst for adrenaline, Monte also thrives as an active adventure reporter. He has embarked on daring expeditions, immersing himself in Africa's wild landscapes, and documenting his adrenaline-pumping experiences. Whether it's conquering treacherous peaks, exploring remote jungles, or engaging in heart-pounding activities, Monte's adventurous spirit and daring escapades inspire readers to embrace their own sense of adventure. In addition to his work in journalism and adventure reporting, Monte is a leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger in Africa. Through his influential blog, he offers readers an insider's view of the continent's vibrant entertainment scene, trendy hotspots, fashion trends, culinary delights, and cultural experiences. Monte's unique blend of storytelling, personal insights, and expert recommendations has made his blog a go-to resource for entertainment and lifestyle enthusiasts seeking the pulse of Africa's dynamic culture. Beyond his professional pursuits, Monte is a passionate advocate for promoting Africa's talent, creativity, and cultural diversity. He actively supports and champions emerging artists, musicians, designers, and entrepreneurs, helping to showcase their work to a broader audience. Monte's dedication to promoting Africa's vibrant entertainment and lifestyle industry has positioned him as a respected influencer and tastemaker within the African and global entertainment communities. With a commitment to excellence, a passion for exploration, and a talent for captivating storytelling, Monte Oz continues to captivate audiences worldwide. As an international freelance journalist, travel and active adventure reporter, and leading entertainment & lifestyle blogger, his work has left an indelible mark on the world of journalism, travel, and entertainment, solidifying his position as a trusted authority and go-to resource for all things related to African travel, adventure, and lifestyle.