European Union: EU Formally Adopts Schengen Visa Code Amendments

At a Glance 

The Council of the European Union has formally adopted amendments to the Schengen Visa Code.  The amendments are expected to improve procedures for travellers to the Schengen Area in 2020. 

The situation 

On June 6, 2019, the Council of the European Union formally adopted the proposed amendments to the Schengen Visa Code. The amendments are expected to improve procedures for travellers to the Schengen Area.  

A closer look 

The new rules include in particular:  

  • More flexible procedures for legal travellers.  
    • Travellers will be able to submit their applications up to six months in advance of their planned trip (instead of the current three months), and no later than 15 days before the trip; 
    • Where available, travellers will be able to complete and sign their visa application form electronically; and 
    • Frequent travellers with a positive visa history can receive a multiple-entry visa valid for a period from one year up to five years.  

  • Increased visa fee. The fee for a short-stay visa will increase from EUR 60 to EUR 80 for adults; and from EUR 35 to EUR 40 for 6-12-year olds. These fee amounts will be re-assessed every three years. 
  • Improved cooperation on readmission of irregular migrants. A new mechanism will be introduced under which the conditions for processing visa applications can be adapted depending on the third countries’ cooperation on readmission of irregular migrants. If required, the European Union can adopt a more restrictive or generous implementation of certain provisions of the Code, including the maximum processing time of applications, the visa fee amounts and length of the validity of the visas issued on a country-by-country basis.    


The timeline of the implementation of the Visa Code is depicted below.

Looking ahead 

The new rules will enter into force six months after the publication date of the revised Visa Code in the Official Journal of the European Union. Therefore, no changes are expected before 2020. Fragomen will report on the progress of the implementation.   

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