Africans and other travellers who need a Schengen Visa to visit European countries will now pay a higher visa fee starting from January 2020 according to the EU Council. The changes come after the Council gave approval to an updated Schengen Visa code recently.
Announcing this development through a press release, EU Council said the Schengen visa fees will increase by 33.3% from 60 euros to 80 euros once the amended regulation comes into force.
“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,” the press release reads.
By EU rules, after the final adoption by the EU Council, the new EU Visa regulation will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Six months afterwards, the regulation will come into force and start applying to all third-country nationals that need a visa to the Schengen zone.
If the final text is published by the end of June, in January 2020, third-country nationals in need of a visa will need to pay 80 euros to apply.
The new regulation foresees other changes as well. 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 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 travellers 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.