As of February 2, the first Sunday of the month, all Embassies, Consulates and visa centers granting Schengen visas will start applying the new visa rules, which among others include increased visa fees by 33%.
Due to the implementation of the updated Schengen Visa Code, which comes into force on Sunday, several rules regarding Schengen visa application will change in all countries in the world where Schengen embassies grant this type of visa,
The rules changing are as follows:
Visa fees have increased for all applicants
Applicants that used to pay €60 per application will now need to pay €80, while those that had to pay €35 will now need to pay €40. This includes children and other categories that were granted with the benefit of paying lower fees.
The European Union has argued that the visa fee hike brings it in line with the level where it would be today if it had been aligned to the general EU-wide inflation rate since 2006.
It also points out that despite the increase, Schengen visa fees remain much lower than the ones for other countries.
“By international standards, the €80 visa fee remains low. As a comparison, applying for a tourist visa to the United States costs €143 and €126 for China. Travelers to Australia have to pay €90 for their visa, while those going to New Zealand will be charged €146. A visa to Canada costs €68, to India €95, and to the UK €112 (January 2020),” a Q&A published by the European Commission points out.
Application form can now be signed and submitted electronically
The EU has instructed the Member States to allow applicants to complete and submit application forms electronically, where possible.
This means that applicants will also be able to sign the applications electronically, which signature should then be recognized by the competent Member State.
Applying six months in advance of a trip is now possible
While so far Schengen visa applicants could file an application ad early as three months in advance of their trip to the borderless Schengen area, now this rule has changed.
The updated code makes it possible for travelers to apply six months before their trip.
Whereas seafarers in the performance of their duties can submit their application nine months prior to their intended arrival at any Schengen port.
Schengen Members to outsource visa application in every country
With the new code, the Schengen Member States will be present in more countries, so that travelers will no longer have to travel to a neighboring country just to file an application.
The Code obliges all members, where possible, to be present in every country through their embassy/consulate, another Member States, or by outsourcing Schengen visa admission to an external service provider.
More Benefits for Frequent Travelers with a Positive Visa History
Frequent travelers to the Schengen Area, either for business, tourism, or other short-term purposes, will benefit most from the new rules for Schengen Visa application, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
These travelers will be granted with the benefit of getting a multiple-entry visa valid for up to five years, given that have a positive visa history, which means they meet the following conditions:
- They have lawfully used their previous visas.
- They have a good economic situation in the country of origin.
- They have a genuine intention to leave the Schengen Area before the expiry of the visa for which they have applied.