Everyone who stays a little here sees the pattern that persons with rejected UK visas come regularly and upload an image of their rejection.

I wonder why the UK is so predominant? The Schengen area is also one hotbed for visa rejection, but for the UK it seems to be out of proportion (if you compare the area/countries of Schengen and the UK?)

Can someone explain why (just curiosity)?

  • 3
    Actually, the UK visa system is markedly more hostile.
    – Relaxed
    Dec 12, 2017 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


TL;DR: Because that's how Google ranks our site

I'll start by stating some facts about Travel.SE itself:

  • It's an English-language website
  • Most (~90% as per the last stats) of its visitors come here from search engines
  • It has a huge (27k as of now) database of travel questions

Now let's take a look at the profile of people who ask about UK visas here:

  • They speak English to some degree
  • They often speak the language because they have ties to the Commonwealth (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi citizens) or are in a relationship (family, romantic) with a UK resident
  • They usually ask about visa refusals, rather than about how to apply for one

And finally let's evaluate the differences between Schengen and UK visas:

  • UK consulates don't accept sponsorship per se as a satisfying argument for issuing a visa. To contrast, many Schengen countries have an official form one can fill out in order to sponsor a given person.
  • The UK is more likely to refuse visas. For Indian consulates, the rejection rate is 10%, while for the Schengen area it's 6%.
  • UK visa refusals are more detailed and usually spell out the exact reason for doubting the application. In contrast, the Schengen refusal form only provides for a boilerplate set of reasons without a personalized explanation.
  • The UK application form asks about any relatives living in the UK and consulates are suspicious of people who have potentially strong ties to Britain. In contrast, the Schengen application form asks nothing about people you know in the Schengen area.
  • The application form itself is long, detailed and confusing for UK applicants, compared to the Schengen one.

So let's take a look at the thought process of the average person who posts on our site about UK visas:

  1. They get a refusal letter, panic
  2. Google the exact phrase inside their rejection letter - in English
  3. Inevitably Travel.SE is one of the top results as we have seen every possible combination of reasons for a UK visa refusal
  4. They ignore the previously submitted answers and ask for help with their personal situation, as they believe it to be somehow different from the others

But what about the Schengen area? The average person's "workflow" is similar, but with a crucial difference:

  1. They get a refusal letter, panic
  2. Google the exact phrase inside their rejection letter - in one of the 25 languages of the Schengen area
  3. Travel.SE is rarely the top result as Schengen refusal reasons are boilerplate and because we mostly deal with English
  4. They get their information from another website and don't ever come here

The same applies to people who apply for a UK visa in a country like China - they often don't speak English well and Google in their local language, which means they never stumble upon Travel.SE. This explains why we're seeing seemingly so many questions about the UK, even though far more Schengen visas are issued each year.

Speaking of which, this is also the reason why Stackoverflow now has Spanish and Russian versions — they want to cover their bases when it comes to Google searches, so that potentially any person in the world would see Stackexchange as the top result.

  • 6
    Very interesting. Any insights as to the prevalence of the UK against, for example, Australia, Canada, and the US which, I assume, are comparable destinations and which, I also assume, would be comparably strict?
    – choster
    Dec 8, 2017 at 20:35
  • 4
    @choster Australia and Canada get less tourists from English-speaking visa-nationals. I'm sure we would get a lot of questions about them if Travel.SE was available in Chinese. In addition, we don't even have a proper question on Australian or Canadian visa refusals, so nobody would find us in Google. Maybe it's time to start a canonical on those countries? :)
    – JonathanReez Mod
    Dec 8, 2017 at 20:49
  • 2
    Doesn't a similar thing apply for US visa rejections? Why don't we see many of those?
    – gparyani
    Jan 16, 2018 at 10:02
  • 1
    @gparyani I believe the reason is that we don't rank as high for US visa questions in Google.
    – JonathanReez Mod
    Jan 17, 2018 at 16:49

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