Top 10 applicants for visas to top 10 EU destinations

November 08, 2023
France was the main recipient of visa applications from third-country nationals in 2022, receiving a total of 1.9 million applications, compared to 652,331 applications submitted the previous year. Schengen statistics show the highest number of visa applications in three countries at the beginning of the year – France, Spain and Germany, with the number of applicants exceeding one million. Although some nationalities apply more for visas than others, overall the main applicants to the EU are Indians, Russians, Turks and Saudis. For a more comprehensive look at the top filing countries of the year, has compiled the full list of countries with the most applications and the top filing nationalities.


The majority of visa applications to France were submitted by Algerian nationals (239,927), 48.9% more than Moroccans, followed by 161,045 applications.Furthermore, Moroccan nationals from the African continent are the main visa applicants to Schengen countries in 2022. Third and fourth countries of origin of visa applicants entering France in 2022 are India and Saudi Arabia, with 138,643 and 120,630 requests respectively, while Türkiye follows with 115,114 candidates. The list of top ten candidates also ends with Tunisia (95,515), the United Kingdom (91,702), Russia (64,309), Lebanon (46,072) and Ivory Coast (45,993). Regardless of the 2022 results, the Chinese remain the top visa applicants to France over the past six years and the second largest visa applicants to Schengen countries in 2022.


Moroccans requested the most visas to Spain in 2022, submitting 201,584 applications, while Russians, who have submitted the most visa applications to Spain in the past six years, were the second applicants with 166,893 requests. The third largest group of applicants were Algerians, with 102,656 applications, while Indians and British submitted a total of 80,098 and 61,005 applications respectively. Spain received a relatively large number of visa applications from Spanish-speaking countries, in this case from Ecuadorians, who submitted 58,141 applications. Ecuador is also the top visa applicant country from the South American continent, while the Dominican Republic is the second largest visa applicant nationality group in the same region. Compared to other nationalities, the Spanish-speaking country ranked ninth, behind Saudi Arabia (43,269) and Kuwait (29,297). Turkey submitted a total of 27,664 visa applications to Spain in 2022, placing it in the top 10 countries with the most visa applications for the year.


More than 37% of all German visa applications in 2022 were from Turkish nationals (223,699), compared to 76,352 applications from Indian nationals, the second largest group of visa applicants. Turks have been applying for visas to Germany for the past six years, along with Chinese and Russians. Kosovo is the country of origin of 54,685 applicants and is the third nationality group with the most applications this year, followed by Russians (48,895), Egyptians (43,2530) and Saudi Arabians (41,753). The other four visa applicants during the year were Thai, with 30,466 applications, while Kuwaitis, along with Kosovo, had the highest number of visa applications per capita, having submitted a total of 29,368 requests. Belarus and South Africa are the last two countries of origin for the best candidates for 2022, submitting 27,319 and 26,735 applications respectively.


Russians, Turks and Saudis requested the most visas for Italy in 2022, submitting a total of around 241,561 applications, while Belarus, India and South Africa were the leading countries of origin with 36,416, 35,982 and 26,730 visa applicants. Italian visa applicants from Iran and Kuwait registered a total of 22,519 and 18,130 applications, while Algerians submitted a further 17,824.


The Mediterranean country is one of the most popular destinations for Turks, who submitted 164,829 visa applications in 2022, or 44% of the total applications of the 10 candidate countries Top. The second and third nationality groups to apply for Greek visas were Russians (75,830) and Indians (27,457), while Armenians and Saudis totaled 27,457 and 20,228 applications respectively. The remaining five nationalities are British with 17,207 applications, South Africans with 11,982, Lebanese with 11,156 and Egyptians with 9,656 applications. Although the UAE has a visa-free travel agreement with Schengen countries, in this case Greece recorded a total of 15,350 visa applications from foreign nationals living in the UAE in 2022.


Despite slight differences in the number of applications submitted, Indians still dominate visa applications to the Netherlands in 2022 with 52,616 applications, followed by Turks (48,807), Filipinos (45,354) and Indonesians (23,738). Expats in the UAE filed 19,774 applications, while South Africans and Saudis registered 19,649 and 18,804 applications respectively. Among other European countries, visa applicants in the Netherlands are more diverse, with Moroccans ranking eighth, behind Spain and France, where they are one of the top three applicants, with a total of 17,795 applications. Surinamese nationals submitted some 16,938 applications, while Britons registered a total of 11,478 applications.


Unlike the Netherlands, where Indians are the main visa applicants but there is no significant difference in visa applications with other nationalities, they dominate visa applications to Switzerland in 2022. With a total of 106,025 applications – 36.2% of the total number of applications filed of the most applicants in 2022, Indians lead the number of visa applications to Switzerland, followed by Kosovars (44,453), Thais (36,879) and Saudis (25,961). Additionally, Indonesians submitted 18,792 applications, followed by UAE nationals (17,549), Turkish nationals (13,778), Russian nationals (10,990), British nationals (9,263) and Iranian nationals (9,075).


No other nationality group in Europe dominates visa applications in the way that Russians have dominated Finnish visa applications. While the total number of 10 candidate countries in 2022 is 149,189,75. 5% of them, or 112,737 applications, were submitted by Russians. Followed by other countries: Thailand (9,358), India (7,950), Turkey (4,073), UK (3,620), Kosovo (3,484), Tunisia (2,336), Indonesia (1,981), Iran (1,836) and UAE (1,814).


Indians, Saudis and Russians were the main applicants for Austria visas in 2022, with total applications of 24,791, 16,695 and 13,292 respectively. The top ten countries with the most visa applications to Austria last year were Turkey (12,815), Thailand (8,453), United Arab Emirates (5,800), South Africa (5,552), Kuwait (4,950), Indonesia (4,442) and Iran (4,343).


The majority of Portuguese visa applications come from applicants from the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), which includes Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, as well as Sao Tome and Principe. Specifically, Angolans submitted a total of 43,567 visa applications in 2022, followed by Cape Verdeans (15,710), Saudis (13,873) and Mozambicans (10,490). Additionally, the British submitted about 10,490 applications in the same year, followed by South Africans with 7,884 applications. Sao Tome and Principe was the eighth country of origin for visa applicants to Portugal, with 4,133 applications submitted. This means that about 1.85% of the 223,107 residents of Sao Tome and Principe applied for a Portuguese visa in 2022. Unlike other countries with fewer visa applicants from the United States, Portuguese authorities received approximately 3,935 visa applications from Americans in 2022, making this nationality the most ninth largest number of visa applications. Next are Russians with 3,332 visa applications, also completing the list of the top 10 Portuguese visa applicants.

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