What Changes Are Happening To The Schengen Visa in 2022?
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.
Previously, back in 2020, the EU changed some of the rules to improve Schengen Visa application procedures for travelers and consulate staff.
What is set to change for visa applicants?
During the last round of changes, Schengen Visa fees were increased from €60 to €80 for adults and from €35 to €40 for minors, and the application submission period was extended from three to six months. Electronic application forms were also phased in as standard. Visa fees will be reviewed every three years - so more changes are not due until next year at the earliest.
Electronic visa application submissions
Member states almost all 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
The latest an application can be submitted remains 15 calendar days before your journey - although it is not advised to leave it that late as any delay to processing could disrupt your trip. It can be submitted up to six months before.
What big changes are coming in 2022?
As Europe reopens following the COVID-19 pandemic, one change is that many countries require a vaccination certificate or proof of testing to enter. Although there is an EU Digital COVID certificate, there are no standardized rules on Covid passports or testing from country to country - so it is best to check the rules of the country you are traveling to or where you are entering the Schengen Area. So far, 35 non-EU countries (and territories) have joined the EU Digital COVID Certificate system - so you should check if this applies to your country. COVID certificates issued in those 35 countries (and territories) are accepted in the EU under the same conditions as the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
Although we all hope the worst of the pandemic is over, make sure you check news articles on the number of cases in your destination country and your country of origin because high or rising case rates, or worrying variants, may prompt stricter entrance criteria. Any proof of testing or vaccination does not need to be submitted with your visa but on entry.
ETIAS is an electronic system that will keep track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. It resembles America’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The ETIAS system is expected to be in place by the end of 2022 and will become mandatory by the end of the following year.
Those applying for ETIAS authorization will pay a small fee (€7 in the original plans), submit biometric data, and undergo background checks to determine whether they are free to enter the Schengen Area. Once approved, this will allow them to travel for up to 90 days at a time for 3 years.
Source: European Commission
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.
Schengen member states are expected to open more embassies, consulates, and visa application centers in more states, to ensure better and easier application processing.
Related topics on Schengen visa :
Frequently asked Questions (FAQs) about the new 2022 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.