European Union to increase Schengen visa fee, plans digital visa

Generally, the Schengen visa fee is revised once in three years. Photo: Shutterstock/H_Ko

Brussels: The European Union Commission has proposed to increase the Schengen visa fee by 12%. The revised fee structure will come into effect on March 1, 2024. The Commission recommended that the basic Schengen visa fee be increased from 80 Euro to 90 Euro for adults. Meanwhile, the fee for children would go up from 40 Euro to 45 Euro. The Schengen visa is granted to citizens of countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China and South Africa to stay in Europe for up to 90 days.

The external service providers that collect Schengen visa applications on behalf of the member states may now be able to charge more fees. Usually, they charge a fee of up to half of the standard visa fee. However, now, they will be able to charge 45 euros for their services instead of 40 euros. Meanwhile, the fee to extend a Schengen visa would remain at 30 euros.

Once in three years
Generally, the Schengen visa fee is revised once in three years. The public can post their suggestions and feedback until March 1. The Commission can adopt the recommendations that come into existence twenty days after they are published in the European Union’s official journal. Meanwhile, the Commission claims that the visa fees to the Schengen regions remain low, compared to other countries, despite the hike. For instance, the US charges 172 dollars (185 euros) for a visa while it is 115 pounds (134 euros) for a UK visa. A Canadian visa costs 130 euros while it is 117 euros for an Australian visa.

Digital visa
The European Union may also have plans to introduce digital Schengen visas. This allows the applicants from the Schengen region to apply for the visa online without considering the areas they wish to visit. Besides, a digital visa would be provided instead of the sticker that is pasted on the passport. As per the information provided on the website of the European Commission, the digital platform will be launched in 2028.

Who needs a Schengen visa?
A Schengen visa is a permit that allows you to enter and travel freely within the Schengen area which comprises 28 European countries, for short stays of up to 90 days within six months, primarily for tourism purposes or for visiting family. Those who travel to Europe for business purposes or attend conferences apply for the Schengen business visa.

However, those who wish to reside in a country and work there for longer periods need a visa from that respective country. Meanwhile, citizens of countries like Britain, the United States of America, Canada and Australia can stay in the Schengen area, without a visa, for up to 90 days within 180 days. 

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