New EU schengen visa rules on short-stay visas came into effect from 2 February 2020 which will affect nationals of 105 countries who require a visa to enter schengen area.
A uniform short-stay visa issued by one of these countries covers travel throughout the 26 Schengen countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
Before we go on to read visa rules, first let us understand a bit about schengen area and countries participating in it. This will prepare you for easier travel and visa process without any confusions.
Which are Schengen countries?
The schengen area is a open single border covers a population of 400 million people covering 26 states.
26 Schengen states
22 EU countries that are part of the Schengen area borders (Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden), as well as for 4 Associated countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
Non Schengen members
- Five EU members that are not part of the Schengen Area, four—Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania—are legally obliged to join the area in the future
- European microstates that are not members of the European Union forming within an EU member state—Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City
- United Kingdom is not part of schengen area.
- Ireland opted out therefore not part of Schengen area
What has changed in 2020?
- Visa fee: Visa application fee increased to €80 euros (from 60 euro). visa fee is still waived for children below 6 years old and minors age of 6 and 12 years are required to pay €40 euros
- Early applications: Visa applications can be submitted up to 6 months before the intended travel (9 months for seafarers), instead of 3 months previously, allowing travellers to better plan their trips;
- Multiple-entry visas with long validity (from 1 to 5 years) are now easier to obtain, saving frequent travellers time and money, as they will have to apply for a new visa less often. Frequent travellers with a positive visa history are to be granted multiple-entry visa with a gradually increasing validity period from 1 year to a maximum of 5 years.
- Electronic applications: In most cases, an application can be submitted directly in the traveller’s country of residence, and where possible filled in and signed electronically (only hard copies were accepted until now), which will also save travellers time, money and hassle.
- Processing times: 15 days remains unchanged and some applications take more time.
Where to apply?
You must follow these rules on where to apply depending on the country embassy.
- Applicants must lodge their application at the consulate of the country they intend to visit.
- Applicants planning to visit several Schengen states must apply at the consulate of the country where they will spend the longest period.
- Applicants planning on visiting several Schengen states for equal lengths of stay must apply at the consulate of the country whose external borders they will cross first when entering the Schengen area.In case the Schengen state of destination has no consulate in the country where the applicant resides, the applicant should check whether it is represented by another consulate.
Remember to Follow these Visa rules
- Applicants have to appear in person only when fingerprints are to be collected (i.e. every 59 months).
- Passport issued for 10 years and must have atleast 3 months validity after the end of the stay
- Present a medical travel insurance (must) covering the period of stay.
UK nationals will remain visa-free when travelling to the EU for short stays, so the revised visa rules will not apply to them.
Schengen Visa Statistics
Schengen States issue 14.3 million visas for short stays in 2018. France, Germany, Italy and Spain issued the most number of schengen visas for 2018 according to latest statistics from commission.
|Schengen Visas 2018||Uniform Visas Applied||Uniform Visas Issued (incl MEV)|
Source: European Commission
These are the top 20 countries applying for schengen visas.
|Schengen Visa||Applications||Visas Issued|
|UNITED ARAB EMIRATES||217433||174059|
Source: European Commission