Delegation of the European Union to Japan

EU Visa Policy: Commission puts forward proposals to make it stronger, more efficient and more secure

Brussels, 14/03/2018 - 12:55, UNIQUE ID: 180315_57
Press releases

EU News 51/2018

The Commission is today proposing to reform the EU's common visa policy to adapt the rules to evolving security concerns, challenges linked to migration and new opportunities offered by technological developments.

The proposed changes to the Visa Code will make it easier for legitimate travellers to obtain a visa to come to Europe, facilitating tourism, trade and business, whilst strengthening security and mitigating irregular migration risks.

(…)

The tourism and travel industry plays a key role in the European economy, representing around 10% of the EU's GDP. Whilst EU Member States are among the world's leading tourist destinations, lengthy and cumbersome procedures can deter tourists from travelling to Europe, redirecting investment and spending to other countries and affecting the EU's economy negatively. At the same time, the benefits of visa travel need to be balanced alongside improved migration, security and border management to adequately respond to present and future security and migration challenges.

Today's amendments to the Visa Code are the first step of the reform of the common EU visa policy – a proposal to update the Visa Information System (VIS) will follow in spring this year.

Simpler, faster and more secure procedures

The updates proposed today aim at modernising and streamlining the common EU visa rules, facilitating the process for issuing visas both for legitimate travellers and Member States, while strengthening the security standards of the visa procedure.

  • Faster and more flexible procedures: The decision making time for visa applications will be reduced from 15 to 10 days. It will be possible for travellers to submit their applications up to 6 months in advance of their planned trip, instead of the current 3 months, and to fill in and sign their applications electronically.
  • Multiple entry visas with longer validity: Harmonised rules will apply to multiple entry visas to better prevent "visa shopping" and to reduce costs and save time for Member States and frequent travellers. Such multiple entry visas will be issued to trusted regular travellers with a positive visa history for a gradually increasing period from 1 up to 5 years. Travellers' fulfilment of entry conditions will be thoroughly and repeatedly verified.
  • Short-term visas at external borders: To facilitate short-term tourism, Member States will be allowed to issue single-entry visas directly at external land and sea borders under temporary, seasonal schemes subject to strict conditions. Such visas will be valid for a stay of a maximum of 7 days in the issuing Member State only.
  • Additional resources to reinforce security: In view of significantly increased processing costs over the past years, a moderate increase of the visa fee (from €60 to €80)– which has not increased since 2006 – will be introduced. This moderate increase is meant to allow Member States to maintain adequate levels of consular staff worldwide to ensure stronger security screenings, as well as the upgrading of IT equipment and software, without representing an obstacle for the visa applicants.

© European Union, 2018

Languages:
Editorial Sections: