The EU established and protected the free movement of persons by creating the Schengen Area as a single common geographic area without internal border controls. The Schengen Agreement became a core and binding part of EU law in 1997. The 2009 EU Visa Code sets out the procedures for visa applications and the conditions under which short-term visas – known as Schengen visas – are issued.
On 2 February 2020, new rules for Schengen visas came into force as a result of Regulation (EU) 2019/1155 (“the Regulation”). The Regulation includes amendments to Regulation (EC) 810/2009 (European Union (EU) Visa Code) and updates the common visa policy.
Here is a brief summary of the main amendments in the Regulation:
Higher visa fees
The Regulation increases the visa application fee for short-term Schengen visas from €60 to €80. The amount of the visa fee will be reassessed every three years. Minors between the ages of ages 6 and 18 may be exempted from paying the visa fee.
The Regulation allows applicants to submit their applications in the country of their residence even if the competent Member State does not have a consulate there. The Member States will cooperate with each other or with a third party visa service provider if necessary to facilitate applications.
In addition, applicants only need to appear in person when their biometric information is collected. Aside from that, the visa application forms can be completed and signed electronically.
Timeline for submission
Applicants can submit their visa applications up to six months prior to their intended travel dates. Previously, this period was only three months.
Multiple-entry visas with extended validity
Frequent or regular travellers to the EU with a positive visa history can benefit from clearer rules on obtaining multiple-entry visas with a longer period of validity. The validity of such visas will gradually increase from one year up to a maximum of five years.
Cooperation with non-EU countries on readmission of irregular migrants
The Regulation links visa and migration policies by establishing a mechanism which regularly assesses the cooperation of non-EU countries in relation to the readmission of irregular migrants. Depending on the level of cooperation, a restrictive or temporary application of certain conditions and rules may be applied.
Should you have any queries relating to Schengen visas or require assistance in making a Schengen visa application for yourself or your family, please do not hesitate to contact us or our sister firm, Discreet Law LLP, for further information.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.