Europe is the top tourist destination in the world. And like for most areas of our daily life, rules already exist for visas for visiting the EU, the so-called Visa Code. However, the European Commission detected some problems with this existing Visa Code. It takes too long for non-EU citizens to get a visa, it is usually too expensive and the bureaucratic procedures are very complicated. Furthermore, it is often very difficult to get a visa because there are not enough contact points and applicants have to travel far to get to a consulate. Finally, a type of extended visa was missing that would allow travellers to stay in the EU longer than 90 days without being considered an immigrant.
These new rules try to make it easier for your friends, family and business partners from outside the EU to visit you. The proposed changes, while maintaining security at the external borders, plan to make travelling easier and to introduce more flexible rules, for example when it comes to the cooperation among consulates. This aims to facilitate visiting friends and relatives, and doing business. Moreover, it shall boost economic activity, tourism and job creation.
The new rules were presented as a package with different components by Cecilia Malmström, the then European Commissioner for Home Affairs: With the new proposal, getting a visa application processed and decided on shall take no longer than 10 calendar days. In addition, it is proposed to ease the rules on which supporting documents are needed. Travellers will be able to apply for a visa in consulates of other EU countries if the Member State you want to travel to does not have a consulate where you live. Generally, the application form will be simplified and online applications will be possible.
Furthermore, it is proposed that people who regularly travel to Europe should be granted a multi-entry visa valid for three years, if they have had a visa issued to them twice in the previous 12 months. Finally, a new kind of visa, the so-called touring visa, is going to be created in a different legislative proposal. With this visa the holder can stay in the European Schengen area and travel across the continent for up to one year.
The proposal is now being dealt with in the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs: amendments had been tabled, the report (the EP's position) was adopted in April 2016. Soon there will be a vote in the plenary. In the meantime, the Member States are discussing it in the Council as well.
Creating a European Border and Coast Guard
Use of Flight Passenger Data
Enforceable Flight Rights for Air Passengers
Pic by: DanLewis/Shutterstock.compolitixReduced share of biofuels in energy mixFruit, vegetables and milk for European StudentsBan on all kind of driftnet fisheriesToo big to fail: Structural Reform of EU Banking SectorA European Platform to fight undeclared workA pan-European Pension System Fighting the trafficking of firearmsA New Waste Management System in the EUFinancial Transaction Tax: Making banks pay for the crisisLess Plastic Bags for EuropeEliminating roaming, securing net neutralityRight2Water: Water and sanitation as human rightEnforceable Flight Rights for Air PassengersPublic list of company owners to fight money launderingMore Possibilities for the Restriction of GMOsEuropean Solidarity CorpsTightened rules for safer and cleaner carsSafer Ship TravelsProtecting fish and marine ecosystemsUpdated European data protection laws Resettlement of Migrants in the EUSafety standards for new kinds of CablewaysCheaper cross-border Parcel DeliveryCross-border enforcement for speeding & traffic offencesEU-wide Minimum Standards for FrackingEuropean statistics relating to persons and householdsUpdated Rules for Audiovisual MediaNew Food Labeling RulesAccess to a Basic Bank Account for EveryoneA New Copyright Regime for EuropePollen as specific 'Ingredient' or Natural Honey Component?Circular Economy: Reducing waste in EuropeRules for cross-border divorcesBetter Management of Asylum FlowsAn Entry-Exit System for External European BordersResolution on Sexual and Reproductive HealthStronger Rules against Terrorism Financing and Money LaunderingCloning of animals New Rules for Tobacco Products and PackagingOrganic production and labelling of organic productsSimpler Rules for VAT in EcommerceLess Greenhouse Gas Emissions for the EUUpdated rules on 'novel foods'Free Wi-Fi for EverybodyEnsure safe and secure air travelBetter Checks of EU Citizens at External BordersUse of Flight Passenger Data Posting of workersBetter Connectivity and super-fast InternetReduced Flush Volume for ToiletsNew rules on privacy in electronic communicationMinimum standards for children accused in courtMore Security in EU Partner CountriesBetter Cooperation among Consumer Protection AuthoritiesEuropass - Better online tools for your job huntStricter Rules for the Export of potentially Dangerous GoodsBetter Protection from Cancer at WorkStrategy Against Discrimination of LGBTI Persons Better protection for children of international couplesCreation of a European Union Agency for AsylumNew consumer rules when (online) shoppingProviding Services more easily across bordersA new electoral law for the European ParliamentBetter access to books for the blindBetter EU access for highly skilled workersCross-border portability: Access to streaming services from abroadMaking products & services more accessible for disabled peopleReducing pollutant emissions from carsConsumer rights for downloads and streaming services Improving the exchange of information on criminalsGeoblocking: Less consumer discrimination onlineBetter energy labels on electronic productsUpdated energy efficiency rulesA European ESTABetter protection for your moneyEuropean Year of Cultural Heritage 2018Creating a European Border and Coast GuardWork-Life Balance for allMore renewable energyEmpowering electricity consumersReducing administrative burden for EU citizens