The Council of the European Union has adopted on Thursday the proposed amendments to the Schengen Visa code. The amendments have been approved in a bid of the EU to improve conditions for illegitimate travelers.
According to a press release of the EU Council, the new rules will provide faster and clearer procedures for frequent travelers to the Schengen territory.
“The new rules will provide faster and clearer procedures for legitimate travelers, in particular by: allowing for applications to be lodged up to 6 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 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,” the press release reads.
The new code also increases the price of a short-stay visa from 60 euros to 80 euros, in order to increase the tools available to respond to the challenges posed by illegal migration.
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,” the Council notes.
The amendments had been adopted by the European Parliament in April this year, after informally backing the proposal together with the Council back in February.
Now that the EU council has also formally adopted it, the regulation will soon 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.