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July 7, 2023

Sweden Says It Does Not Use Any Secret Algorithms to

The Swedish authorities have said that the country does not use any secret algorithms to profile Schengen visa applicants following reports that the Netherlands has been classifying applicants.

The Netherlands was accused of using a secret and potentially illegal algorithm to profile people applying for a Schengen visa based on their ethnicity, with an investigation by Lighthouse Reports and NRC revealing that the country has been using such a system since 2015.

For this reason, Sweden gave an official statement on the matter, reassuring everyone that Sweden itself treats all applicants the same and does not discriminate or support such practices.

Speaking for SchengenVisaInfo.com, the spokesperson of the Swedish Migration Agency said that the country has not used and does not currently use algorithms to profile Schengen visa applicants based on their ethnicity, age, gender, and economic background.

Moreover, when asked if all applicants, regardless of their country of origin, go through the same procedures, the spokesperson said that Schengen visa applications and handled in line with the Schengen visa application code.

“Applications for Schengen visas are handled in accordance with the Schengen visa application code,” the Swedish Migration Agency spokesperson said while noting that the period may be extended up to 45 days for certain applicants.

Additionally, when asked why certain applicants have to wait for a longer period before receiving an answer on their visa application, the spokesperson said that in most cases, this happens because the member countries need time to consult with the other countries’ authorities.

“The time it takes for an applicant to receive an answer could vary within the time limit of 15 to 45 days. This may be due to the need for member states to consult the authorities of other Member States,” the spokesperson emphasised.

Similar to Sweden, another member state, Spain, also denied accusations of using secret algorithms for processing visa applications.

VFS Global also shared its stance on the matter, saying that the company does not keep appointment slots available only for certain applicants or discriminate against Schengen visa applicants in any form.

All nationals of third countries that have not reached a visa-free travel agreement need to obtain a visa to be permitted entry into Sweden or any other country in the Schengen Area.

When applying for a Sweden Schengen Visa, applicants are required to submit several documents.

Everyone must complete the Swedish visa application form, submit two passport photos, their valid passport, proof of having purchased travel health insurance, a roundtrip flight itinerary, proof of accommodation, and proof of sufficient financial means, among others.