New Schengen Visa Rules Bring Multi-Entry and 5-Year Validity Options for Indian Citizens

New Schengen Visa Rules Bring Multi-Entry and 5-Year Validity Options for Indian Citizens

Citizens of India will soon be able to get a five-year, multi-entry Schengen visa the European Union (EU) has adopted more favourable Schengen visa rules for Indian nationals.

In a statement released on April 18, 2024, an EU delegation to India and Bhutan announced the introduction of new regulations aimed at simplifying the visa acquisition process for regular Indian travellers, under the “new cascade regime.”

“Indian nationals can now be issued long-term, multi-entry Schengen visas valid for two years after having obtained and lawfully used two visas within the previous three years. The two-year visa will normally be followed by a five-year visa, if the passport has sufficient validity remaining.”

EU delegation to India and Bhutan

Under the new guidelines, Indians applying for Schengen visas will have access to multiple entry visas that remain valid for an extended period provided that they meet certain conditions.

To qualify for these extended validity visas, applicants must have a history of obtaining and using two Schengen visas within the last three years. This provision favours frequent travellers to the EU with an established track record of lawful visits.

Indian nationals who have travelled to Europe on a Schengen visa for two times in the past three years, are eligible for this new visa guideline where applicants will be given two-year multi-entry visa.

The two-year visa will then most likely be followed by a five-year Schengen visa if the passport has sufficient validity remaining.

This means that Indians who have travelled more frequently to the EU and who have an established travel history will enjoy easier access to extended validity visas.

During the time that the multiple-entry Schengen visas that Indians hold are valid, the holders will have the same privileges as those who are permitted visa-free entry to the bloc.

Holders of multiple-entry Schengen visas with a longer validity will be able to enter the Schengen member states multiple times within a year. However, the 90/180-day rule still needs to be followed.

On the other hand, applicants without the required visa history will continue to receive visas with shorter validity until they build their travel record, demonstrating genuine intent for travel or business within the Schengen Area and return to their home country..

These new visa rules align with the India-EU Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM), initially signed in 2016. The CAMM aims to facilitate mutually beneficial movement between India and the EU while enhancing the management of migration flows and mobility.

Understanding Schengen Visa

A Schengen visa serves as a temporary entry permit for short visits to countries within the Schengen Area, allowing unrestricted travel within the region for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

Notably, Schengen visas are not tied to specific purposes such as work but focus on short-term stays.

The Schengen Area includes EU member states like Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, among others. Additionally, countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, though not EU members, are part of the Schengen area under the European Free Trade Association.

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