New EU rules on short-stay visas apply worldwide since 2 February. They make it easier for the millions of legitimate travellers who visit the EU every year to apply for a visa, facilitating tourism and business, while providing more resources for countering irregular migration risks and threats to internal security.
The applications procedure becomes more user-friendly: travellers may, for example, submit visa applications up to 6 months ahead of a planned trip, instead of 3 months previously. Multiple-entry, long-validity visas are easier to obtain for frequent travellers, saving them time and money. The visa fee is €80, an increase from €60 to help maintain sufficient resources to process applications and detect potential security and irregular migration risks. The increase is the first one since 2006.
In addition, the EU can now adapt the rules on processing visa applications (for instance as regards processing time, the level of the visa fee or the issuing of multiple-entry visas) depending on whether a non-EU country cooperates satisfactorily on the return and readmission of their nationals staying irregularly in the EU. The EU visa rules cover short-stay visas for the Schengen area, which includes 22 Member States and four associated countries. Currently, citizens from 105 non-EU countries and entities are required to hold a visa when travelling to the Schengen area for short-stay visits (full list of countries).