The European Commission has proposed to reform the common visa policy. They aim to adapt them, for security reasons, to the challenges related to migration and new opportunities offered by technological developments.
The objective of the changes is to boost tourism, trade and business. At the same time the EU wants to strengthen security and mitigate the risks of irregular migration.
The tourism and travel industry accounts for around 10% of the EU’s GDP. The EU wants to boost it with several measures. The authorities plan the procedures of releasing the entry visa to be faster and more flexible. The deadline for adopting a decision on a visa application will be reduced from 15 to 10 days.
Travelers can submit the application up to 6 months in advance of the intended trip, rather than the current 3 months in advance. They can also complete and sign the application electronically.
Multiple entry visa will also be issued. They will be issued to people who travel regularly and are considered trustworthy, for a period that will gradually increase from 1 to 5 years. Meanwhile visa fees will increase from 60 to 80 euros.
Furthermore, in order to facilitate short-term tourist journeys, member states will be allowed to issue single entry visas directly at the external land and sea borders under temporary and seasonal conditions. These visas will be valid for stays of no more than seven days, only in the issuing member state.
In general, the short-stay visa issued by a Schengen state authorizes the holder to travel in the 26 Schengen states for a maximum period of 90 days over a period of 180 days. Only in 2016, almost 14 million Schengen visas were issued for these stays.