Magazine article European Social Policy

Visas : Schengen Countries More Accessible to Non-European Travellers

Magazine article European Social Policy

Visas : Schengen Countries More Accessible to Non-European Travellers

Article excerpt

From 5 April, non-European travellers will have an easier time getting a short-stay visa (less than three months during a six-month period) in the European countries of the border control-free Schengen area(1). The new Visa Code, adopted in June 2009, obliges the signatory countries to give reasons for rejecting a visa application and introduces a right of appeal for applicants.

Intended to simplify life for non-European travellers, the new regulation enumerates the different steps of the common review procedure to be used in all the Schengen countries. It lists the documents the applicant must submit as well as the procedures used to check them. It obliges the states to tell an applicant why a visa is not granted and the decision may be appealed. In all Schengen state consulates (responsible for issuing visas), the visa will cost 60 for applicants over age 12 and 35 for children aged six to eleven. Visas are issued at no cost for children under six years of age, representatives of not-for-profit associations under age 25 (participating in seminars, conferences or sport, cultural or educational events), researchers (in the exercise of their activity) and diplomats.

The code sets a time limit of 15 calendar days for the processing of visa applications and authorises multiple-entry visas under certain conditions.

LIMITED TERRITORIAL VALIDITY

The idea is also to combat illegal immigration. The code therefore encompasses the existing common list of countries whose nationals must present an airport transit visa between two Schengen countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Somalia). …

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