New EU visa rules

The European Union is among the world’s leading tourist and business destinations – in 2018 alone, over 14 million Schengen visas were issued to travellers visiting Europe. With new rules on short-stay visas applying worldwide as of 2 February 2020, it is now easier for legitimate travellers to visit the European Union for tourism or business purposes, with expected positive impacts on the European economy, people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges. Member States will now also benefit from additional financial resources to process visa applications more efficiently and improve their capacity to detect potential security and irregular migration risks.

Currently, citizens from 105 non-EU countries or entities are required to hold a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stay visits. A Schengen visa allows travellers to visit: the 26 countries of the Schengen area; for a maximum duration of 90 days in any 180-day period.

Travellers can benefit from easier, more flexible, and faster modernized application procedures:
● Easier applications: In most cases, applicants will have the possibility to submit their application at a location close to their place of residence. Where available, they may also fill in and sign the application form electronically.
● Family friendly: Minors between 6 and 18 years old may be exempted from the visa fee.
● Better advance planning: Travellers are now able to submit their visa applications up to 6 months ahead of the planned trip, instead of 3 months under the old rules.
● Easier travel for frequent visitors: Regular travellers with a positive visa history will no longer have to apply for a new visa every time they travel to the EU. From now on, travellers with a positive visa history applying for subsequent visas can benefit from multiple-entry visas. There are clearer rules on the period of validity of these visas, starting from 1 year up to a maximum of 5 years. Travellers’ fulfilment of entry conditions will be thoroughly and repeatedly verified in all cases.

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MORE RESOURCES FOR VISA PROCEDURES

The cost of applying for a Schengen visa is €80, which represents a moderate increase from €60. This increase is necessary to ensure sufficient financial resources for:
● A wide consular coverage worldwide;
● Upgrades to IT equipment and software to provide faster and user- friendly procedures for visa applicants;
● Better capacity to detect potential security and irregular migration risks during the visa procedures, including by reinforcing consular staff to speed up the process.

For travellers, the fee increase is partly offset by savings from the new rules:
● Applicants no longer have to travel to distant locations to submit their visa application;
● Frequent travellers have to apply for a new visa less often.

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Source:
For more information and details regarding “New EU Visa Rules”, please visit the website at: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_20_149?

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