What changes are happening to the Schengen Visa in 2020?
The Schengen Visa allows the holder to travel freely within 26 European countries, 22 of them within the European Union (EU). The standard short-stay Schengen Visa allows holders to stay within the Schengen Area for up to three months during each visit.
The EU is changing some of the rules to improve Schengen visa application procedures for travelers and consulate staff. After approval by the EU Parliament, the new Schengen Visa rules came into force on the first weekend of February 2020.
Why is the EU updating the Visa Code?
In May 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal to revise the rules for Schengen Visa, with the purpose of strengthening their common visa policies due to migration and security concerns.
What is set to change for visa applicants?
Changes to the new Schengen Visas are higher fees, raised from €60 to €80 for adults and from €35 to €40 for minors, an extension of the application submission period from three to six months, the introduction of electronic application forms as standard in most countries, and longer visas for those with a positive visa history. Visa fees will be reviewed every three years.
Electronic visa application submissions
In a bid to ease visa application procedures, the updated Visa Code instructs Member States to allow application forms to be completed, submitted, and signed electronically, wherever possible. Although it is best to check the country you are applying to has this service up and running.
Extended application submission periods
Another benefit of the new Schengen Visa 2020 code is that it extends the period within which an application can be lodged, from three to six months before you traveled - and nine months for seafarers needing to travel to Schengen ports. The latest an application can be submitted remains 15 calendar days before your journey - although this is not recommended as any delay to processing could disrupt your trip.
Highlighted importance of travel insurance
Travel and medical insurance is mandatory for Schengen Visa applicants, and its importance is highlighted in the EU’s new Schengen Visa code. For short-stay visas, it must cover you across the entire Schengen Area for the duration of your stay.
AXA’s Low Cost Travel Insurance costs only €0.99 ($1.11) per day of your trip, and will meet your visa requirements of covering costs up to €30,000. If you need more comprehensive coverage, which covers you for medical and repatriation expenses up to €100,000, AXA’s Europe Travel coverage is available from €1.50 per day.
Those applying for a multiple-entry visa now have to prove they are in possession of valid travel and medical insurance meeting the Schengen Visa requirements covering the period of their first intended visit. For those who are planning to apply for a multiple-entry visa, Multi Trip insurance is available from AXA from €298 per year. This covers you for expenses up to €100,000 and for additional trips within the year.
Other effects of the new Schengen Visa are that Schengen member states are expected to open more embassies, consulates, and visa application centers in more states, to ensure better and easier applications processing.
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Frequently asked Questions (FAQs) about the new 2020 Schengen Visa rules
Will it be harder to obtain a visa under the new Schengen Visa rules?
No. In fact the extended application period and attempts to improve processing should make it easier from some countries.
Does the extended application period mean I need to apply earlier?
No. But it’s recommended you apply early to allow for any difficulties in processing your application.
Have the travel and medical insurance requirements changed under the new Schengen Visa rules?
No. They are still the same - requiring you to have coverage of costs up to €30.000 for the duration of your trip.