New efficient visa rules and programmes have been implemented to ensure secure external borders and facilitate better understanding of visa procedures and irregular border crossings.

EDC News: New EU Visa Rules

The European Union has updated its visa rules to improve funding and efficiency for visa processing and tackle migration challenges. These updates were increasingly necessary following years of significant growth in the EU’s travel and tourism industries. This growth has been partly facilitated by the common EU visa rules (Community Code on Visas), which allowed non-EU citizens to travel freely in the Schengen Area for a short-stay or transit. Applications for such visas increased by 57% in 2018, compared to 2009, when the Community Code on Visas (Regulation 810/2009) was established. However, in the 2018 Impact Assessment found that the previous rules did not tackle problematic areas, such as inadequate financial resources to process visas, repeated visa applications for frequent travellers and low readmission of irregular migrants to their home countries.

In response to the Commission’s Impact Assessment, the newly implemented rules (Regulation 2019/1155) include the following main changes:

  • increased the visa fee application from €60 to €80 to tackle with the inadequate resources for administrative, premises, equipment and IT maintenance costs of Member States’ visa authorities
  • frequent travellers can easily obtain a Multiple-entry visa (MEV), by simplifying the application process for frequent visitors to Europe. With the objective of encouraging more business people to choose Europe as their destination.
  • Allows the Commission to assist Member States in returning illegally staying people to their country of origin. Prior to issuing the visa, checks will be made to ensure readmission agreements, between the EU and country of origin, are being met. In cases where there are infringements on the agreement, the Commission will impose temporary visa restrictions on applicants from that country.

The Commission will utilise and improve existing systems (Entry/Exit System (Regulation 2019/817), Visa Information System, Schengen Information System) to increase efficiency in identifying over-stayers and visa fraud. These changes, in addition to the updated Community Code on Visas, will create more efficient border crossings while strengthening the security of the EU’s external borders.

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