New Rules for European Union Visas
The European Council – leaders of the 27 EU states – agreed on June 25 2009 to approve
common rules on procedures and conditions for issuing short-stay EU visas.
The European Council said that this was a major step to further develop a common visa policy and to reinforce co-operation in the Schengen area.
"Third-country nationals will benefit from more consistent and transparent application procedures," the council said in a media statement.
The provisions mainly concern transits through or intended stays not exceeding three months in any six-month period, meaning short-term visas.
Denmark should decide within a period of six months after the date of adoption whether it will implement it in its national law or not. On the same grounds, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are covered by the regulation.
The new regulation establishing a Community Code on Visas (known as the Visa Code) bundles all legal instruments concerning visa decisions and increases transparency and legal security for applicants, the European Council said.
Its main provisions are that it clarifies which EU member state is responsible for processing a visa application and defines the different phases for examination and decision taking, includes new provisions allowing for multiple-entry visas under certain conditions, lists the documents a visa applicant needs to submit and the procedures for their verification, harmonises the fees that can be charged and sets common standards for the service provided, namely non-discrimination and that a decision should be taken within 15 calendar days, and obliges member states to give refused applicants the reasons for their decision and gives them the right to appeal.
At the time of submission of the first application, member states should also collect fingerprints and introduce them - along with the photograph - into the Visa Information System (VIS).
The visa fee is set at 60 euro for people 12 and older and 35 euro for children between six and 11.
For children under six as well as school pupils coming to Europe for study or educational training, researchers and representatives of non-profit organisations under 25 participating in seminars, conferences, sports, cultural or educational events, visas are free.
The visa fee may also be waived for children between six and 11.