Accessing a visa to be allowed to travel abroad has always been hard. Moreso because sometimes white people are granted visas at the airport whereas we have to go through a tedious process including declaring our bank statements and proving that we will return. Perhaps with the new Schengen visa policy, things are about to change.
A Schengen visa is a visa that allows a person to travel within the Schengen area for a short period of time, usually 90 days. It’s the world largest visa-free zone. It includes 26 member countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Although most of the countries in the Schengen area are in the European Union, they have mutually exclusive policies.
The Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.
As of February 2020, some of the rules that regulate visa issuance are changing in a bid to facilitate the application procedures and regulate procedures. The Schengen visa grants 26 European countries. It is one of the best visas to have. For the last few years, the number of applicants has been steadily increasing.
The visa policy is changing to facilitate procedures for frequent travellers to the Schengen area and by rewarding countries that collaborated in the readmission of illegal migrants and other similar fields with easier visa procedures.
Some of the expected changes include higher Schengen visa fees to 80 Euros from 60 Euros as it has been all along. For children aged between 6-12 years, the fee has increased from 35 Euros to 40 Euros.
It also has extended application submission periods. Applicants will be able to fill in their application six months prior to the expected travel day. The minimum required time for processing of the visa is fifteen days.
Another major change is the electronic application. Previously the applicant had to physically visit the embassy to submit the application but with the change in policy, this is set to change.
The new visa has lengthier validity for frequent travellers. This means that those who travel to the Schengen area regularly will be able to access visas that last longer than the usual 90 days. The visa is also expected to have higher considerations for third world countries. On top of this, It further highlights the importance of travel and medical insurance, which are mandatory. Find out more about the implementation of the new visa here.