The European Union Council has announced that travelers 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 on 6 June.
The new EU Visa regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Six months after, it will come into force and start applying to all third-country nationals that need a visa to the Schengen zone.
The Schengen visa fees will increase for 33.3% from €60 to €80 once the amended regulation comes into force. The new regulation foresees other changes as well. The amendments had been proposed last year by the European Commission in an attempt to make traveling easier for frequent travelers to the Schengen countries.
The new rules also permit applications to be submitted for a maximum of 6 months, and no later than 15 days, before the trip. So far, the maximum period has been 3 months. In addition, the EU intends to introduce a harmonized approach to the issuing of multiple entry visas to regular travelers with a positive visa history for a period, which increases gradually from 1 to 5 years.
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.