New EU rules on short-stay visas are now in effect as of February 2, 2020. The new Schengen rules make it easier for legitimate travellers to apply for a visa to come to Europe. Besides the rules, the visa fee also increased.
The visa fee increases from €60 to €80. This increase is the first one since 2006.
The changes apply to travellers from all countries which need visas to travel to the EU. Currently, citizens from 105 non-EU countries or entities are required to have a visa. Nothing changes for countries benefitting from visa-free travel to the EU because the new rules do not apply to their citizens.
The rules cover short-stay visas for the 22 EU countries that are part of the Schengen area (Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden), as well as for four associated countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.A uniform short-stay visa issued by one of these countries covers travel throughout the 26 Schengen countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
With the new rules, travellers now benefit from a simpler and more user-friendly visa application procedure:
- Visa applications can be submitted up to 6 months before the intended travel (9 months for seafarers), instead of 3 months previously, allowing travellers to better plan their trips;
- Multiple-entry visas with long validity (from 1 to 5 years) are now easier to obtain, saving frequent travellers time and money, as they will have to apply for a new visa less often;
- In most cases, an application can be submitted directly in the traveller’s country of residence, and where possible filled in and signed electronically (only hard copies were accepted until now), which will also save travellers time, money and hassle.
What are the new rules for issuing multiple-entry visas?
Frequent travellers with a positive visa history are to be granted multiple-entry visa with a gradually increasing validity period from 1 year to a maximum of 5 years.
Travellers’ fulfilment of entry conditions will be thoroughly and repeatedly verified in all cases, and only persons with a positive visa track record will be issued multiple-entry visas with a long validity.
Multiple-entry visas allow the holder to travel repeatedly to the EU during the period of validity of the visa.
How long will it take for the visa application to be processed?
The maximum time for visa applications to be processed remains unchanged at 15 days. The processing time may be longer only in individual cases, for instance where further scrutiny of the application is needed, and take up to maximum 45 days.
What are the requirements for applying for a short stay visa?
The rules have not changed. In order to apply for a short stay visa to the EU, applicants must present:
- A filled in and signed visa application form;
- A passport issued in the last 10 years and valid for at least 3 months after the end of the stay;
- An identity photograph;
- Proof of possession of adequate and valid travel medical insurance;
- Supporting documents relating to the purpose of the stay, evidence of means of support during the stay and accommodation.
Applicants must also pay the visa fee and, where applicable, have their fingerprints collected.