The European Commission has announced a 12% increase in Schengen visa fees, citing inflation and rising civil servant salaries as the primary reasons for the hike. Effective immediately, the new fee structure requires adult applicants to pay €90 (previously €80) and children aged 6-12 to pay €45 (previously €40). In countries that are uncooperative with the EU’s repatriation efforts, fees could rise to €135 or €180.

A Schengen visa permits travel within the Schengen area, a zone encompassing 27 European countries, including France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, which have removed passport and other border controls at their mutual borders.

This increase follows the previous fee hike in February 2020. Despite a 37% year-on-year rise in short-stay visa applications in 2023, totaling over 10.3 million, the numbers remain below the pre-pandemic peak of 17 million applications in 2019.

In tandem with the fee hike, Europe is actively seeking to attract global tourists. On April 18, 2024, the European Commission introduced a new visa regime for Indian citizens residing in India, called the “visa cascade.” This initiative includes easier access to multi-entry visas, rewards for a positive visa history, and the potential for a five-year visa.

Schengen visas are typically issued for short stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period, for purposes such as tourism, business, or family visits. There are different types of Schengen visas, including the Uniform Schengen Visa (USV) for short stays, the Airport Transit Visa (ATV) for airport transits, and the National Visa for stays longer than 90 days.

The Schengen Area comprises Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Romania., Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway. Although Norway is not officially a member of the Schengen Area, it applies the same regulations.


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