Schengen Visa can now be applied 6 months in advance, starting February 2nd 2020
The cost of Schengen Visas has increased to €80 from €60 per application with a validity of one to five years.
People who are planning for a Euro trip can rejoice as from 2nd February 2020, they can now apply for a Schengen Visa six months in advance. Earlier, the period was three months from their intended travel date.
Along with this, the usual norm of giving out limited Schengen Visas for a limited period has been revised to that where travellers with a ‘clean/positive history’ will be granted the same with a validity of one to five years. While the European Union (EU) is easing the travel norms, there have been some changes in the visa fees as well. The visa cost has increased to €80 from €60 per application. The fee for children in the age group of 6 to 12 will be raised from €35 to €40.
An EU spokesperson said, “The new rules will provide faster and clearer procedures for legitimate travellers, in particular by: allowing for applications to be lodged up to 6 months, and no later than 15 days, before the trip; providing for the possibility of the application form to be filled in and signed electronically.” The changes follow with the Council of the EU last June, adopting the proposed amendments to the Schengen Visa code. “The amendments have been approved in bid of the EU to improve conditions for legitimate travelers.”
VFS Global increases its capacity by 40%
In order to cope with the peak travel season demand ahead for visas in the South Asia region, VFS Global will be enhancing their capacity by 40% across centres in the region. Sanjeet Joher, Head – South Asia, VFS Global, said, “The initiative has been taken to avoid any inconvenience for travellers. We are fully geared up. We have increased our staff capacity by 40% across the region. We are operating in two shifts from 8 am to 6 pm now. We also have a dedicated Customer Experience Manager in all the centres to address queries for the peak season ahead.” he said.
Joher said that the company keeps on updating and educating the trade (travel agents) and the public about the processes so that “customers have a seamless service experience” at the centres. Joher said that the ‘door step’ service of the VFS introduced in 2017 is fast gaining popularity in Tier-II cities of the country. This service is currently offered for 18 governments.
Despite the geopolitical and global economic and financial meltdown, Joher feels the Indian outbound traffic is robust as ever in the upcoming season as well.