Schengen Visa changes
The changes came into effect on the 2nd February 2020.
What Is Set to Change?
The main changes are as follows:
- Higher visa fees.
- Extended application submission periods.
- Electronic application forms for most countries.
- Representative authorities of every Schengen Member state must be present, to provide visa admission, in all countries globally outside of the Schengen area in every third country in terms of visa admission after February 2nd.
- Frequent travelers who have been issued with Schengen visas in the past for substantial periods, will now benefit from a visa with a longer validity
Higher Visa Fees for Every Applicant
The first way applicants will be affected by the new visa code is regarding the increase in the visa fees.
- Applicants for Short Term visas, used to pay €60 per application will now pay €80, while children aged 6 to 12 paid €35 will pay €40. The fee does not change for nationals of countries that have a visa-facilitation agreement with the European Union, for which the fee remains €35. *
- Children aged 0 to 6 remain exempt from the visa fees.
- The Schengen visa application costs include the visa fees payable at the corresponding embassy/consulate when applying.
The updated Visa Code instructs Member States to allow application forms to be completed and submitted electronically, where possible. Also allowing visa applicants to sign the application form electronically.
Extended Application Submission Periods
The new code extends the period within which an application can be lodged, from three months to six months in advance of a trip.
Seafarers in the performance of their duties can as of February, submit an application as early as nine months in advance of their arrival at any of the Schengen ports.
The latest an application can be submitted, remains at 15 calendar days before an intended trip to the Schengen Area.
Highlighted Importance of Travel Insurance
Travel Insurance remains mandatory for Schengen Visa applicants, despite attempts to make it optional., The new code highlights the importance of having Schengen Insurance when applying for a visa.
For travelers applying for a multiple-entry visa, they will have to prove they are in possession of adequate and valid travel medical insurance covering the period of their first intended visit.
The new visa application form established by the EU, has a declaration at the end that states “I am aware of the need to have an adequate travel medical insurance for my first stay and any subsequent visits to the territory of Member States.”
More Benefits for Frequent Travelers with a Positive Visa History
Travelers frequently visiting the Schengen Area, who have lawfully used their previous visas, with a stable financial status in the country of origin and a genuine intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa for which they have applied, will be granted a multiple-entry visa valid for up to five years.
This benefit will not be limited to specific travel purposes or categories of applicants. However, Member States are instructed to have particular regard for persons travelling for the purpose of exercising their profession.