What is the change? EU officials are moving toward adopting new visa rules for short-term business travelers and tourists.

What does the change mean? Under the plan, visa-required nationals planning travel to the Schengen Area would enjoy simpler application procedures, a wider application window, faster processing times and longer visa validity. Schengen Area countries with external borders would be able to issue single-visit tourist visas at the border. Visa fees would increase and visa policy would, in some cases, be tied to a country’s cooperation with the EU on such issues as irregular migration. The EU Parliament is set to vote on the plan this week.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Schengen (C type) visas.
  • Who is affected: Travelers from any of the 105 countries whose nationals require a visa to travel to the Schengen Area.
  • Impact on processing times: Schengen visas would be processed in 10 days instead of the current 15 days.
  • Business impact: The changes would offer greater flexibility for frequent travelers and those with urgent travel needs.
  • Next steps: The reforms would take effect six months from the date of publication in the Official Journal.

Additional information: The proposed changes include:

  • Easier application procedures. In most cases, travelers would be able to submit applications from their country of residence. Travelers may also submit the application form electronically if the option is available.
  • A wider application window. Travelers would be able to submit applications within six months before travel rather than the current three months.
  • Faster processing times. Schengen visas would be processed in 10 days rather than the current 15 days.
  • Single-entry visas at external borders. Schengen countries would be permitted, under strict regulation, to issue single-entry visas at external EU borders for stays of up to seven days.The visas would be valid in the issuing country and for tourism purposes only.
  • Five-year visas. Frequent travelers with a clean visa history would be eligible for multiple-entry visas with validity that would increase over time from one year to a maximum of five years.
  • Fee increases. Government processing fees for Schengen visas would increase from the current €60 to €80. Minors between 6 and 18 years of age would potentially be exempt from fees.
  • Visa policies tied to cooperation from other countries. Schengen visa policy would be linked to the cooperation of other countries in readmitting nationals who have irregular status or overstay their visas in the Schengen Area.

Analysis & Comments: The proposals would offer greater flexibility for those traveling to the Schengen Area for business or tourism. They would particularly benefit frequent travelers and those with urgent travel needs.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.