Issuance of Schengen visas: an update with the Consul General of France in Rabat

In Morocco, the prevailing view is that France issues far fewer visas to Moroccans than in the past. This opinion is based, on the one hand, on the tightening that France officially announced in September 2021, and, on the other hand, on the finding of scarcity or even the absence of appointments.

It is also based on information circulating about companies that have not been able to obtain visas for their managers. After checking with a multinational, Médias24 found out that visas had been rejected for leaders going to France to hold a seminar.

The subject of visas is a source of excitement. Many in Morocco consider it a right to obtain a visa when the required conditions are met, given the economic and human relations between the two countries.

Others consider the drastic or allegedly drastic drop in the number of visas for Moroccans to be humiliating.

Finally, others believe, like Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, “that this is a Franco-French problem” because the arguments put forward by France are, according to them, unfounded.

In this context, marked by an increase in demand and dissatisfaction, interviewing a French diplomat is a difficult exercise. Because the latter represents a country whose positions he must defend.

Sandrine Lelong-Motta, French Consul General in Rabat, agreed to play the game with questions and answers. According to our interlocutor, the number of requests has returned to its pre-pandemic level since March 2022.

Note that this refers to the number of applications instead of the number of visas granted. However, it is the latter that matters to Moroccans.

Let’s remember the numbers:

– In September 2021, France announced a halving of the number of visas to Morocco based on the year 2020, which had been unusually low due to the pandemic.

– Number of visas granted by France to Moroccans in 2019: 346,042.

– 2020 (year of imprisonment and pandemic): 98,627.

– I 2021: 69.408.

Here is the interview:

Nearly 2,000 agreements to submit a visa application to France are open every day in Morocco.

Médias24: Since the reopening of the borders and the passage of Morocco into the Green Zone, have you observed any urgency with Schengen visa applications to France? If so, can we have some figures showing the development of demand during and after the health crisis?

Sandrine Lelong-Motta : With the health crisis and the various suspensions of air services in Morocco, most applicants had to postpone their travel plans. That is 420,000 requests was filed in 2019 compared to 102,000 in 2021.

With the favorable development of travel conditions due to the health situation and the approach of the summer period, demand is rising markedly, especially since March 2022.

To give you an order of magnitude, almost 2,000 agreements to submit a visa application to France are open every day throughout Morocco.

The Consulates General adapt daily by opening new slots every week, with a distinction according to the type of visa requested (short stays / long stays, persons who have or have not been issued a visa, spouses of French nationals, students, drivers …).

Knowing that there has been no new French declaration since 28 September 2021 on the dispute between Morocco and France over a 50% reduction in visas, where is this file then? Is that fall still relevant, or are we gradually returning to normal?

– The autumn 2021 announcements concerning Morocco have their origins in the low number of returning Moroccans to their country in an irregular situation in France.

France continues a constant dialogue with Morocco on migration issues and, as indicated, the restrictive measures on visas will be reversible as soon as the return of Moroccans in an irregular situation in France resumes. in line with 2019.

– Can we have an idea of ​​the duration granted? From how many visas or under what conditions can a Moroccan get a visa for a maximum period of four years?

The processing of a visa application is based on the completeness and quality of the file submitted. The visa application must be submitted during a journey and contain all the documents provided for in the Schengen Community Visa Code, in particular an air ticket (or reservation), proof of accommodation (a hotel reservation or a receipt issued by the city hall), an insurance certificate and financial documents.

All documents are checked by the visa service and any fraudulent document leads to the rejection of the application (even a false hotel reservation).

The period of validity of a circulation visa (multiple entries) depends on many criteria, such as the correct use of previous visas as well as the supporting documents.

– What were the main changes in the procedure for submitting applications to TLS?

– There have been no changes in the archiving procedure at TLS.

The hardening – for example, the obligation to present a paid hotel bill instead of a simple reservation – will it hold and become the rule?

A paid hotel bill is not required, but all reservations are verified (including dates). Unfortunately, many travel agencies – not to mention pharmacies – offer fake reservations. It is the plaintiffs who are then punished.

– What are you going to do to reduce the extension of delays in getting an appointment with TLS?

– As indicated above, almost 2,000 agreements, all categories combined, for submitting a visa application to France, are open every day throughout Morocco.

– The same question for the illegal sale of contracts, which continues to grow …

– We strongly advise against the use of pharmacies.

In order to avoid the violations observed in some of those who try to “anticipate” agreements on the TLS website in order to resell them at an exorbitant price, we have taken measures regarding cybersecurity and set up a prepayment of service fees within a very short time to validate the agreement.

– What does the summer look like in terms of applications and granted visas?

– Visa services will be mobilized as always. The student campaign will be treated as every year, and under the best conditions, so as not to punish the students.

– Have you noticed a drop in summer requests in favor of Spanish consulates?

Since March 2022, the volume of visa applications to France has returned to its normal course (2,000 per day).

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