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Explained: How New Schengen Visa Rules Ease Europe Travel For Indians

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A Schengen visa permits a brief stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day timeframe.

New Delhi:

The European Union (EU) recently introduced a revamped visa system tailored specifically for Indian nationals. This new system offers substantial advantages to Indian citizens, allowing them access to long-term, multi-entry Schengen visas, which can significantly streamline travel plans and enhance the overall experience for those venturing into the Schengen area.

What Is Schengen Visa

The Schengen area comprises 25 countries out of the 27 EU countries except the Republic of Ireland and Cyprus. It includes countries such as Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. This extensive area not only offers diverse cultural experiences but also facilitates seamless travel across borders for visa holders.

A Schengen visa permits a brief stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day timeframe. This visa may be issued as either a single-entry, enabling one entry into the Schengen area, or a multiple-entry, allowing multiple visits for the duration of its validity.

How The New Rules Affect Indians

Under the new regulations, Indian travellers can now obtain a two-year Schengen visa, a marked improvement from the shorter validity periods previously available. To qualify for this extended two-year visa, applicants must have acquired and appropriately utilised two Schengen visas within the preceding three years. Upon successful utilisation of the two-year visa, travellers can typically expect to be eligible for a five-year Schengen visa, provided their passport maintains sufficient validity.

The new rules essentially say that Indian travellers can move freely within the Schengen member countries for short stays, typically up to 90 days within any 180-day period, without the need for additional permits or authorisations. Under this system, eligible travellers with a proven track record of travel will have simplified access to visas with extended validity, provided their passport’s validity permits.

The ‘Cascade’ system, as it’s termed, is designed to reward frequent travellers with progressively longer visa durations. It begins with a two-year visa, and upon successful use, travellers can potentially qualify for a five-year visa. While these visas do not restrict the purpose of travel, they do not allow the right to work within the Schengen area.

The decision to tweak the rules comes in the broader context of improving relations between the EU and India

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