On April 18, the European Parliament adopted new visa rules. Besides simplifying the procedure for obtaining a visa, the changes include the Schengen visa fee will increase from €60 to €80.
What are the new rules?
The new EU visa policy will include several crucial points. The most important change is the increase in the visa fee from €60 to €80. Another is a more flexible procedure for obtaining a visa.
Visa applications will have to be submitted between six months (9 months for seafarers) instead of the current three months ahead of the intended trip.
The visa fee might be reduced for people under 18 years old, and children under six. Frequent travelers with a positive visa history might be eligible for multiple entry visas.
Such persons might have a multiple entry visa with a gradually increasing period of validity from 1 year to a maximum of 5 years.
Not tomorrow or the day after, the procedure is rather complex and lengthy. The changes should be formally adopted by the EU Council of Ministers.
Then, the adopted text will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union, and only 6 months after its publication, the new rules will come into force.
What about Belarusians?
Belarus and the EU have almost reached an agreement on visa facilitation. However, according to Vladimir Makei, the head of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, there are certain difficulties.
One of them is the readmission and migrants who illegally enter the EU from Russia through Belarus territory. According to Makei, Belarus and the EU should develop a mechanism for the return of such migrants to Belarus.
More on the topic:
Should the agreement on visa facilitation between Belarus and the EU be signed, the cost of the Schengen visa for Belarusians may drop to €35 (when applying for a visa at the embassy).
Even if the new EU visa rules will come into force before the agreement is signed, the cost of the Schengen visa for Belarusians will decrease from €80 to €35 after its signing.
In case Belarus and the EU don’t sign the agreement, Belarusians will have pay €80 euros for a visa to visit the EU state members.