EU considers one-year Schengen visa

Tourists should not face “costly procedures”

The European Commission has released a proposal for a new visa that would allow travel within the Schengen area for up to a year. It is one of a series of initiatives to attract more arrivals from major outbound markets.

Known as the touring visa, it would give visitors passage through the EU’s Schengen area for a year with the option of an extension for up to two years. However, visitors would not be allowed to stay in one member state for more than 90 days within a 180-day period.

The commission has also rolled out proposed changes to Schengen visa rules, noting that non-EU travellers tended to face “cumbersome, lengthy and costly visa procedures” when applying for short stays. Approvals for the touring visa and reworking of the visa code and are expected in 2015 at the earliest.

Changes include :

–       Reducing the deadline from 15 to 10 days for processing and taking a decision

–       Making it possible to lodge visa applications in other EU countries’ consulates if the member state competent for processing the visa application is neither present nor represented

–       Substantial facilitation for regular travellers including mandatory issuing of multiple-entry visas valid for three years

–       Simplified application form and allowing for online applications

–       Possibility for member states to devise special schemes granting visas at the borders for up to 15 days in one Schengen state

–       Possibility for member states to facilitate the issuing of visa for visitors attending major events

TTG Asia

[pictured: Notre Dame de Paris; courtesy French Tourist Office]