Schengen visa fees to increase from Jan

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Travellers in need of a Schengen visa will need to pay a higher visa fee starting from January 2020. The changes come after the European Union Council gave the final nod to an updated Schengen Visa code, last week.

According to a press release of the EU Council, the Schengen visa fees will increase by 33.3 percent from €60 to €80 once the amended regulation comes into force. Said the council in a statement published in SchengenVisaInfo.com

Any changes in the Schengen visa assumes significance for residents in Qatar as Europe attracts thousands of travellers from Qatar annually.

On July 6, the Council of the European Union adopted the proposed amendments to the Schengen Visa code. The amendments have been approved in a bid to improve conditions for legitimate travellers.

“To ensure member states can better cover the costs of visa processing without constituting a deterrent for visa applicants, the visa fee will be increased to 80 Euros. The regulation also introduces a mechanism for reviewing every three years whether the visa fee should change,” said a press release.

The new rules will provide faster and clearer procedures for frequent travellers to the Schengen territory.

The new rules also permit applications to be submitted for a maximum of six months, and no later than 15 days, before the trip. So far, the maximum period has been three months. In addition, the EU intends to introduce a harmonised approach to the issuing of multiple entry visas to regular travellers with a positive visa history for a period, which increases gradually from one to five years.

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“The new rules will provide faster and clearer procedures for legitimate travellers, in particular by: allowing for applications to be lodged up to six months, and no later than 15 days, before the trip. Providing for the possibility of the application form to be filled in and signed electronically, introducing a harmonised approach to the issuing of multiple entry visas to regular travellers with a positive visa history for a period which increases gradually from 1 to 5 years,” added the press release.

Another important part of the new code is that it also intends to contribute to the cooperation of third countries on readmission through the introduction of a new mechanism for using visa processing as leverage. Through the mechanism, third countries will be assessed continuously regarding cooperation on readmission. Non-cooperating countries can become subject to restrictive visa measures as visa processing and visa fees. Whereas cooperating countries may benefit from reduced visa fees, or an increase in the period of validity of multiple entry visas.

The amendments had been proposed last year by the European Commission in an attempt to make travelling easier for frequent travellers to the Schengen countries.

The new code also introduces a mechanism that assesses whether the visa fees should change or remain the same, for every three years. Another mechanism that will use visa processing as leverage will also be introduced, in a bid to improve cooperation with third countries on readmission.

“Under this mechanism, the Commission will regularly assess third countries’ cooperation on readmission. Where a country is not cooperating, the Commission will propose that the Council adopt an implementing decision applying specific restrictive visa measures related to visa processing and, eventually, to the visa fee,” it added.Courtesy:The Peninsula