Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Schengen Visa fees hike: Your trip to Europe will get costlier by 12% now

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The Schengen Visa, which permits visa-free travel to over 29 European countries, is set to become more expensive. Starting from June 11, 2024, applicants will face higher fees for this essential travel document.

The European Commission has announced this increase in Schengen visa fees, effective from June 11, 2024. Slovenia’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has confirmed that the fee for adult applicants will rise from €80 to €90.

“The European Commission adopted a decision to increase short-stay Schengen visa (visa type C) fees worldwide by 12 percent. The increase will apply worldwide as of June 11, 2024. New Schengen visa fees will be €90 for adults and €45 for children aged 6 to below 12 years of age,” the Slovenian government said.

Moreover, nationals of those countries who are not cooperating for readmission and are staying irregularly will have to pay a visa fee of €135 or €180, according to the report.

The decision has sparked discontent, especially among Turkish citizens who have been looking forward to a visa-free agreement with the EU. In 2023, the Schengen Area received over 10.3 million short-stay visa applications, marking a 37% increase from 2022 but still below the 2019 peak of 17 million applications.

The European Union (EU) revises the Schengen visa fee every three years. The revision of the visa fees does not affect the fees laid out in visa facilitation agreements unless the agreement’s provisions make explicit reference to the visa fees set out in the Visa Code.

The European Union (EU) in February this year proposed price hike. The body revises the Schengen visa fee every three years. The revision of the visa fees does not affect the fees laid out in visa facilitation agreements unless the agreement’s provisions make explicit reference to the visa fees set out in the Visa Code.

Nationals of countries including South Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and China require the Schengen visa, which permits stay in 28 European countries for up to 90 days for tourism purposes or family visits.

The new changes are expected to be announced by the EU’s commission in its official journal by the end of this week, the report said. The Commission said the application fees have been hiked to offset the increase in inflation and salaries of the employees of the member states, the report said. The EU also said the fees can be revised every three years, and the last changes were made in February 2020.

In recent years, Indian citizens have shown a growing interest in exploring Europe, demonstrated by a 43% surge in Schengen visa applications in 2023 compared to the previous year. India ranked third in visa applications, with a total of 966,687 submissions. Chinese nationals held the top spot, with 1.1 million applications, marking their return to the lead since 2018.

To facilitate travel for Indian nationals, the European Commission has introduced a new visa “cascade” system. This initiative simplifies the process of obtaining multi-entry visas with extended validity periods.

Under this system, Indian citizens residing in India who have lawfully used two visas within the past three years are now eligible for a two-year multi-entry visa. They can subsequently apply for a five-year visa, allowing them to stay for up to 90 days within any 180 days.

The development comes at a time when the number of visa applications have seen a 36.3 percent surge in 2023 compared to 2022. However, the applications are yet to beat the pre-covid numbers, which stood at 16 million in 2019.

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