Schengen Visa Fee Increase: Exemptions and Global Implications

Schengen Visa Fee Increase: Exemptions and Global Implications

From June 11, Schengen visa fees have increased by 12.5% for both adults and children, affecting many travellers from non-EU countries. 

This change, announced on May 22 in the Official Journal of the European Union, has been communicated by Schengen Area embassies and consulates to ensure affected nationals are aware.

New Visa Fees:

  • Adults: Fees will rise from €80 to €90.
  • Children: Fees will increase from €40 to €45.
  • Non-Cooperative Countries: Applicants from countries that refuse to cooperate with the EU on the readmission of irregular migrants will face higher fees, ranging from €135 to €180. However, children under 12 from these countries will only see their fees increase to €45, and children under six will remain exempt.

The increase has been imposed to account for rising visa processing expenses and the need to maintain Schengen area security.

Schengen visa holders are allowed to travel freely in the Schengen Area comprising 29 European countries, for short stays of a maximum of 90 days in any 180 days

Exemptions and Unaffected Groups

The visa price will not increase for everyone, as there are some categories of people who will not be affected by this measure.

The following will remain unaffected by the new visa fees.

  • Visa-Facilitation Agreements: Nationals from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cape Verde, and selected other countries with existing visa-facilitation agreements will continue to pay €35.
  • Non-Biometric Passports: Nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine, who do not possess biometric passports, will also continue to pay €35.

Additionally, the following groups are exempt from visa fees:

  • Family members of EU citizens and nationals of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland.
  • Holders of diplomatic, service, or official passports.
  • Pupils, students, postgraduate students, and accompanying teachers travelling for studies or training.
  • Representatives of non-profit organisations under 26 years old attending seminars, conferences, or events organised by non-profits.

Financial Implications

Schengen countries, including popular destinations like France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, are highly favoured by travellers. In 2023, the Schengen Area received over 10.3 million applications for short-stay visas, marking a 37 percent increase from 2022.

For many individuals, especially from countries without visa-facilitation agreements, the fee increase represents a significant financial burden. 

This might deter some travellers from visiting Schengen countries, potentially affecting tourism and business travel. The higher fees for non-cooperative countries serve as a political tool, aiming to pressure these nations into complying with EU migration policies.

Impact on Global Mobility

The increase in Schengen visa fees could significantly impact global mobility patterns. 

The higher fees may discourage travellers from countries without visa-facilitation agreements, leading to a decline in tourism and business travel to Schengen countries.

Travellers might opt for destinations with more affordable visa requirements, potentially benefiting non-Schengen countries and altering traditional travel patterns.

In summary, while the EU's fee increase is designed to generate additional revenue and enforce policy compliance, it also places a notable financial strain on many applicants, potentially influencing their travel decisions.

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