New European Union (EU) rules on short-stay visas are globally applicable from Feb 02, 2020.
The European Commission said –
Make it easier for legitimate travellers to apply for a visa to come to Europe, facilitating tourism, trade and business, while providing more resources for countering irregular migration risks and threats to internal security.
What is a Schengen Visa?
The word Schengen is the EU passport-free zone which covers 26 European countries. It is the world’s largest travel free zone that mostly prefers a standard visa policy for international travel purposes.
Schengen visa consists of a short-stay visa that allows an individual to travel and stay in any Schengen member area for up to 90 days.
However, if you are willing to work, stay and study in any of the Schengen countries for more than 90 days, you need to apply for a national visa of that particular country as the Schengen visa wouldn’t give you the right to stay longer in a European country.
Why did the Need for New EU Visa Rules Arise?
The number of visa applications for EU member countries has significantly increased over the last ten years (10.2 million in 2009 to 16 million in 2018) and continuously expanding until now. However, the visa application procedure is still the same since 2010.
Therefore, the European Parliament and the council mutually agreed for the changes in the EU visa rule to make the process less complicated and to grow the travel and tourism industry as both the industries play a significant role in the development of the EU member nations.
Additionally, the visa fee was not amended since 2006, and the charge no longer covered the cost of the visa application process. So, the need for the new EU visa rules arises.
Which Countries are Covered Under New EU Rules?
The amended rules on short-stay visas cover 22 EU member countries and 4 associated countries. These 22 EU countries are-
Benefits of New EU Rules
The European Commission made the visa application process more straightforward and user- friendly. The commission has made some generous changes applied from the 2nd Feb 2020. Such changes are-
- Introduction of the new visa application form;
- As per the country of residence, you can fill in and sign the short-stay visa application electronically. This rule can save you a few bucks as well as time;
- As per the new law, the application submission period is extended from 3 months to 6 months before the intended travel, which allows the travellers to plan their journey efficiently.
Multiple Entry Visa
Multiple entry visa is a kind of visa that allows the visa holders to travel numerous times to the EU nations until the validity of the permit. The validity of this visa is one year.
However, if you are a frequent traveller with positive travel history, your validity for multiple entry visa can successively be increased from one year to five years.
Requirements to Apply For a Short Stay Visa
To apply for a short stay visa for EU countries or Schengen member countries, everyone needs to fulfil some essential elements. You must present-
- A duly filled and signed application form for EU visa;
- Passport size coloured photograph;
- A passport issued under 10 years period and has a minimum of 3 months validity after ending your visit or stay;
- A valid travel medical insurance;
- Supporting documents which tell the purpose of the stay;
- Proof of adequate finance for your stay and accommodation.
Well, 15 days is the maximum time allotted to process the visa application. Whereas, the processing time used in further scrutiny of the applicants may take up to 45 days.
To sum up, the European Parliament and Council has made several changes in the EU visa rules without compromising the level of security and control. The new visa rules will facilitate the applicants to process their application smoothly and efficiently.