From February, Schengen visa applicants will have to undergo new procedures that will apply to those wishing to enter one of the European countries concerned, as announced by the European Commission on its website, Schengen Visa Info.
Applicants for a “Schengen” visa, which is considered to be one of the most complex and difficult visas to obtain, will have to submit their applications six months before the date of travel, instead of the three months that were previously in force, just as they will have to prepare and sign their applications on a dedicated website. They will also have to pay a higher fee which is set at 80 and 40 Euros, instead of the 60 and 35 Euros previously set. On the other hand, children under the age of six will continue to benefit from free access. These fees will be subject to increase every three years, if this decision is approved. The travel insurance certificate will continue to be required for visa applicants.
Schengen visa applicants may benefit from the extension of the period of stay on European soil, in particular for regular travelers who have a positive record, who have not broken the law, who respect their commitments to leave the Schengen area before the expiry of their visas, and who have a good professional status in their country of origin. This category of persons may be granted a multiple-entry visa for a period of five years. The Commission also intends to give special consideration to travelers for professional purposes, such as businessmen, artists, athletes and journalists, without specifying either the modalities or the form of this consideration.
The procedures for obtaining a “Schengen” visa will be made easier for citizens of countries which cooperate with Europe on the return of their illegal immigrants and which opt for drastic measures to counter illegal immigration.
According to the European Commission, these measures will enable consular services to examine applications within a reasonable time, while ensuring that the applicable safety and security laws and procedures are respected, particularly in the light of the increasing visa applications each year and the difficulties encountered by the services in responding to them, especially in view of the lack of human resources.
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