Changes in Schengen visa rules
The EU Parliament and Council have agreed to simplify the application process and issuance of short-stay visas. The new EU Visa Code aims to facilitate traveling to the Schengen Area for tourism, trade and business, and at the same time to contribute to the internal security.
“Visa applications will have to be submitted between six months (instead of the current three months) and 15 days ahead of the intended trip, except for seafarers who will be allowed to submit applications nine months in advance,” a press release by the European Parliament explains.
With the new code, the Schengen visa fee will increase from €60 to €80. Children under 6 years of age, students and researches will still be exempt from the fee, whereas, applicants under 18 will most possibly have to pay a lower fee.
EU member states will be obliged to work with external service providers for visa admission, in the non-EU countries where they are not present or represented by another country. Multiple-entry visas will be available for frequent travelers to the Schengen Zone, and additional facilities will be made for well-known artists and high performance athletes touring in the EU.
“The new prerequisite to buy travel health insurance will be assessed by the European Commission 15 months after introduction, taking into account the actual medical costs incurred by visa-holders,” the European Parliament points out in the press release.
Now, for the new EU Visa Code to come into force, the deal will be put to the vote in the Civil Liberties Committee. After being confirmed by the plenary as well, the Council of Ministers will need to formally adopt it for the text to be published in the Official Journal of the EU. Six months after its publication the changes will come into force.
However, some of the provisions in the new code will not necessarily be applied in all member countries. They may be adapted depending on whether a given non-EU country “shows “sufficient”, or alternatively “insufficient”, cooperation on readmitting irregular migrants, following a full and objective assessment carried out by the European Commission every year”.
As per January 2019, citizens of 102 countries and two other entities are in need of a visa to visit the EU. Kosovo and Turkey are among the countries in the process of reaching a visa liberalization agreement with the EU.