If you’re planning to explore Europe, a Schengen visa should be on top of your checklist. However, obtaining a Schengen visa is not easy, which makes it a prime target for fraudsters looking to take advantage of unsuspecting applicants. In this article, we’ll help you spot fake Schengen visas and avoid scams before it’s too late.
- The Schengen visa is a prerequisite for many non-European citizens to visit 26 countries in the Schengen Area, which means that millions of tourists apply for Schengen visas every year
- Scammers produce fake Schengen visas that appear genuine, putting applicants at risk of being scammed out of their money
- Schengen visas are hard to obtain, but it’s not impossible, and you don’t need to use a middleman or a travel agency
- Applying for a Schengen visa requires careful preparation to avoid mistakes and omission of information
- Spotting a fake Schengen visa requires attention to detail and knowledge of the security features present in a Schengen visa
Why is Schengen Visa Important?
The Schengen visa allows travelers to visit multiple countries within the Schengen Area without the need for additional visas. This visa has a uniform format, which includes specific security features that deter fraudsters from imitating it successfully. However, despite the security and risk assessment measures, fraudsters can still produce fake Schengen visas that resemble the original.
What is a Fake Schengen Visa?
A fake Schengen visa is a visa document produced by unauthorized entities, which appears authentic and is meant to deceive unsuspecting applicants. Fraudsters produce fake visas for Schengen and other types of visas globally, exploiting applicants’ desperation and lack of knowledge of the visa application process. Fake Schengen visas often bear signatures, stamps, holograms, and other features that the real Schengen visa must contain.
How to Spot a Fake Schengen Visa
To avoid falling victim to Schengen visa fraud, you need to know what to look for, and the best way to achieve this is to use a checklist. Some of the significant factors to consider when evaluating a Schengen visa include;
The Schengen visa contains several critical security features that set it apart from a fake visa. This includes:
- Hologram: Schengen visa contains a transparent or a three-dimensional hologram sticker that acts as a security seal, making it impossible for fraudsters to duplicate.
- Watermark: Schengen visa also contains a multi-tone watermark image visible only when you hold the visa up to the light. The watermark image resembles an image of the passport holder or a unique design.
- “Guilloche” Fine Printing: This is another security feature on the Schengen visa that has a unique geometric or floral design, forming part of the visa’s layout.
- UV Security Feature: Schengen visas also contain a fluorescent design that becomes visible when you expose the visa to UV light.
Spelling, Apostrophe, and Terminology
Fraudsters often make spelling errors and use incorrect grammar, which is a red flag when evaluating a Schengen visa’s authenticity. Inconsistencies in names and dates of birth are also tell-tale signs of a fake visa.
The Schengen visa contains a barcode on the left side of the visa sticker or sheet, which has essential information about the holder. The barcode’s unique number can help verify the visa’s authenticity using the relevant government agency’s online portal.
What to Do When You Come Across a Fake Schengen Visa
If you come across a fake Schengen visa, don’t panic. The first step is to report the case to the relevant authorities, such as the embassy or consulate. Avoid using the visa to travel or leave the airport if you arrive in Europe with a fake one.
In conclusion, the Schengen visa is an essential requirement for tourists traveling to 26 countries in the Schengen Area. However, applying for one may not be easy, and it’s advisable to prepare carefully and avoid using middlemen or travel agencies. Spotting fake Schengen visas requires attention to detail and knowledge of the various security features present in the visa document. If you come across a fake visa, report the case to the relevant authorities immediately.
1. What is the Schengen Area?
The Schengen Area is a zone comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passport and other types of border control at their mutual borders.
2. Can I travel to multiple destinations on a Schengen visa?
Yes, you can visit any of the 26 countries in the Schengen Area on a single visa.
3. Can I apply for a Schengen visa online?
No, you can’t apply for a Schengen visa online. You must visit the embassy or consulate of the country you intend to visit to begin the application process.
4. Can I apply for a Schengen visa a few days before travel?
No, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to apply for a Schengen visa because it can take several weeks to process. Always apply for the visa at least three months before your intended travel date.