Travelers in need of a Schengen Visa will have to apply for one according to the new rules, introduced by the updated Schengen Visa Code, as of Sunday, February 2, 2020.

The new rules on short-stay visas will apply worldwide as of Sunday, to the nationals of 105 non-EU countries or entities that are required to have a visa to travel to Europe for tourism, trade, and business.

The rules have been changed in a bid to make it easier for legitimate travelers to apply for a visa to come to Europe, while providing more resources for countering irregular migration risks and threats to internal security.

According to the European Commission, the EU Member States are among the world’s leading tourist destinations as the number of visa applications processed has increased considerably over the last 9 years and continues to expand.

Since 2009, the number of applications for EU visas has risen by 57% – from 10.2 million to over 16 million in 2018. At the same time, visa application procedures have not changed since 2010 and there was a need to make them less cumbersome, while maintaining the same level of security and control,” the Commission explains in a FAQ dedicated to the changes

The main changes to the new code, of which every Schengen visa applicant must be aware of, are as follows:

  • The visa fee increases from €60 to €80, for applicants of the age of 12, while those aged 6 to 12 will have to pay €40 instead of €35. Application for those under 6 remain free of charge.
  • Visa applications can be submitted up to 6 months before the intended trip, instead of 3 months in advance as it was so far.
  • Multiple-entry visas with long validity (from 1 to 5 years) are now easier to obtain for frequent travelers.
  • In most cases, an application can now be submitted directly in the traveler’s country of residence, as several countries will now outsource visa processing in countries where they are not present.
  • Where possible applicants can fill in and sign the application form electronically, while only hard copies were accepted until now.

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