BRUSSELS – In a significant development, the European Commission has unveiled a proposal to increase Schengen visa fees by 12%.
According to a proposal by the European Commission,the cost of a Schengen visa in 2024 increase from around €80 to €90 for adults and from around €40 to €45 for children.
Schengen visas serve as crucial documents for citizens from non-EU countries, enabling them to access the Schengen area beyond the 90-day visa-free rule. Notably, citizens from countries such as South Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and China rely on these visas for travel to Europe.
In addition to the general fee increase, the EU is considering the introduction of higher fees for countries deemed to exhibit insufficient cooperation on readmission, particularly concerning the acceptance of individuals expelled from member states. Under this proposal, fees for such countries could rise from €120 to €135 for adults and from €160 to €180 for children.
The European Commission unveiled the draft of these potential fee adjustments on February 2, 2024, following consultations with experts from member states. The proposal is now open for public feedback until March 1, 2024, providing EU citizens with the opportunity to voice their opinions and weigh in on the proposed changes. If the proposal receives approval, the revised fees could be implemented within the coming months, taking effect 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Despite the potential changes to the Schengen visa fees, it’s important to note that the fee for extending a Schengen visa will remain unchanged at €30. This decision aims to provide stability for individuals needing to prolong their stay within the Schengen area amidst the ongoing discussions surrounding border security and visa regulations.
The Schengen visa is a travel document that allows holders to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen Area, which comprises 26 European 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).
These countries have mutually abolished passport and other types of border control at their common borders, enabling passport-free travel. The visa is typically issued for short stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism, business, or family visits. Nationals of certain countries are required to obtain a Schengen visa before entering the Schengen Area, while citizens of certain countries are exempt from this requirement due to visa waiver agreements.