The European Parliament has approved the initiative of the European Commission aiming to simplify the issuance of Schengen visas, the official website of the European Commission reports.
“The new rules will facilitate tourism, trade and business, as well as improve our security standards in order to identify those who pose a threat or are not eligible to enter the EU,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Migration and Citizenship.
According to the new rules, applicants will be able to submit their applications 6 months prior to the planned trip instead of the existing 3 months. They can also fill out and sign their applications in electronic form. Minors between the ages of 6 and 18 may be exempt from visa fees. Tourists with a positive visa history can receive multiple-entry visas valid from 1 to 5 years. At the same time, the cost of the visa will increase from 60 to 80 euros.
In the near future, the new rules will be approved by the Council of Europe, after which the adopted text will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union. It will come into force in six months.