New Schengen Visa Fee Takes Effect 2 February
A Schengen visa is needed for 26 European countries, including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Switzerland and Spain.
The new fees will come into effect from February 2.
“The visa fee will increase to Euro 80, about N32, 130.84 (for applicants not only from Nigeria, but from all countries except those with which the EU has a visa facilitation agreement),” a European Commission spokesperson told PTI.
The increase in the visa fee comes as an updated Schengen Visa Code will apply from February 2, 2020, he said.
Children aged 6 to 12 will have to pay Euro 40 (N16, 070.12) instead of Euro 35, as it is currently, the spokesperson said. According to exchange rates on Wednesday, a Euro is equivalent to N401.61.
There will be no fee for infants and children below six years of age as there is “no change” in this regard in the updated regulations.
The cost of applying for a Schengen visa had remained unchanged since 2006.
“A moderate increase of the fee to Euro 80 will ensure that we have sufficient financial resources to maintain a wide consular coverage worldwide, upgrade IT equipment and software and provide faster and user-friendly procedures for visa applicants,” the spokesperson said.
The hike will also improve the capacity to detect potential security and irregular migration risks during visa application procedures, including by reinforcing consular staff to speed up the application process, he added.
This will also bring the fee in line with the level it would have reached based on the general EU-wide inflation rate since 2006, the spokesperson said.
The Schengen visa application form has also been slightly restructured under the new visa regime.
“The application form has been slightly restructured and the formulation of certain entries clarified so that applicants are aware of what information is required, but no substantial changes have been made,” the spokesperson said.
The new visa codes were adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on June 20, 2019, following the European Union’s ordinary legislative procedure, he said.
Over 16 million Schengen Visa applications have been filed at the embassies, consulates and visa centres of the 26 Schengen member countries across the globe in 2018, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com, a website that provides news related to Schengen visa.
“The external service providers are allowed to charge a service fee, which cannot be higher than the visa fee. This means Nigerians applying at an external visa service provider may have to pay up to Euro 160 per visa application, if the external service providers set the maximum service fee permitted, which is Euro 80,” it explained.
What Is Set to Change for Visa Applicants?
The new rules will bring several changes to the visa application procedures, and improve the benefits that come with a visa.
The main changes foreseen by the updated code are as follows:
- Higher visa fees.
- Extended application submission periods.
- Electronic application forms in most countries.
- Representative authorities of every Schengen Member must be present in every third-country in terms of visa admission after February 2.
- Frequent travelers with a positive visa history to benefit from visas with lengthier validity.
The new code also introduces a mechanism that asserts, whether the visa fees should change or remain the same, for every three years. Another mechanism that will use visa processing as leverage will also be introduced, in a bid to improve cooperation with third countries on readmission.
-Culled from Economic Times