Schengen Visa Update
A Schengen Visa is designed to be short-stay visa that grants nationals of non- EU countries access to any of the 26 countries in the Schengen area, 22 of them being within the European Union. It is one of the world’s most renowned visas, with visa applicants continually increasing.
The current EU Visa Code, also known as Regulation (EC) No 810/2009, was introduced in 2010 and is a body of rules that governs the issuance of Schengen visas. This has been adopted by all European Union Member States and some non-EU countries who have implemented the Schengen Acquis.
In May 2018, the EU decided to update the Visa Code and subject Schengen visas to a new Schengen Visa Code. The objectives of this are to strengthen the common visa rules and address current migration and security disturbances. It also has the aims to encourage further interaction with third countries and applaud countries for their collaboration with issues such as the readmission of illegal migrants. These objectives will be met by easing up visa procedures for regular travellers and consulate staff to the Schengen area. This includes preferential treatment to them for longer term visas to ensure easier application procedures.
Beginning 2nd February 2020, the following changes to the Schengen Visa Code have been made: –
Increase in visa fees
The standard visa application cost will increase from €60 to €80. For children aged between 6 and 12 years old, this will increase from €35 to €40. However, there are no fee changes for nationals of non-EU countries who have a visa-facilitation agreement with the EU and children between 0 and 6 years old remain exempt. Visa fees are also to be reviewed every 3 years which may result in a change of visa fees, some countries may be able to benefit from a reduction.
Electronic Application Forms for most countries
The code forces Member States to permit application forms to be submitted electronically. This includes allowing the application forms to be signed electronically and for this to be recognised by Member States. However, these changes will not be given effect to by every consular office from February 2020.
Extended Application Submission Durations
Typically, applicants can lodge their applications within three months in advance of their trip. Now, this period has been extended to six months and has been further extended for seafarers where they can lodge an application within 9 months in advance of their arrival. The latest an application can be lodged is maintained which is 15 days before entering the Schengen area.
Applications to travel to multiple countries in the Schengen Area
Representatives from each Schengen member country must be present in the consulates of third countries or via an external service provider to certify visa admissions. This means nationals can now apply for a visa to multiple countries in the Schengen area within one single application, rather than travelling to a neighbouring country to apply. External providers can charge a fee, but this cannot surpass the current visa cost.
Preferential treatment for frequent travellers with a positive Visa history
For travellers who frequently travel to the Schengen area and have a good visa history, such as lawfully using their previous visas, they can benefit from a multiple-entry visa which lasts for up to five years.
The foreboding effects of these changes are that there will be more compliance in the readmission of illegal immigrants from third countries. This will be reviewed by the Commission annually and if third countries are proving to not cooperate, then they face longer visa application processes and higher visa application costs. For those who prove to be compliant will benefit from the reversal of these effects: quicker processing of visa applications; lower visa costs and extended visa validity.
Should you require further information regarding the above, please get in touch with the Global Mobility professional you deal with at Hudson McKenzie via email at email@example.com or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.