The common EU visa policy makes travelling to the European Union for tourism or business purposes easier.
However, lengthy and cumbersome procedures can deter tourists from travelling to Europe, affecting the EU’s economy negatively. In addition, increased security concerns, challenges linked to migration and new opportunities deriving from technological developments call for an update of the visa policy – the visa rules have not changed since the EU Visa Code entered into force in 2010.
The revised visa rules will allow the EU to better respond to these new and emerging challenges, while at the same time make it easier for legitimate travelers to visit the EU. Currently, citizens from 105 non-EU countries or entities are required to hold a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short stay visits.
Travellers will benefit from easier, more flexible, and faster procedures through:
- Easier applications: In most cases, applicants will have the possibility to submit their application directly from their country of residence. Where available, they may also fill in and sign the appli- cation form electronically.
- Family friendly: Minors between 6 and 18 years old may be exempted from the visa fee.
- Better advance planning: Travellers will be able to submit their visa applications up to 6 months ahead of the planned trip, instead of the current 3 months.
Additionally regular/frequent travellers with positive visa histories will no longer have to apply for a new visa every time they travel to the EU. The new rules will ensure that travellers with a positive visa history applying for subsequent visas can benefit from:
- Multiple-entry visas allowing for repeated visits to the EU.
- Clearer rules regarding the period of validity of multiple-entry visas, starting from 1 year up to a maximum of 5 years.
Travellers’ fulfilment of entry conditions will be thoroughly and repeatedly verified in all cases.