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European travel to get more expensive as Schengen visa fees hiked by 12%

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Europe travel now requires higher visa application fees as the European Commission has hiked the Schengen Visa fees by 12% today.

Flight attendants walk next to a banner reading “Welcome to Schengen!” in Romanian a few minutes after midnight, just after Romania’s official entry into the European area of free circulation on March 31, 2024.(AFP)

A Schengen visa allows its holder to travel freely within the Schengen area, a zone of 27 European countries like France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, among others, that have abolished passport and other types of border controls at their mutual borders.

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Under the new fee structure, adult applicants will pay €90 (previously €80), and children aged 6-12 will pay €45 (previously €40). Countries deemed uncooperative with the EU’s efforts to repatriate their citizens will face steeper hikes, with fees reaching €135 or €180, according to a News 18 report.

The European Commission cited inflation and rising civil servant salaries for the increase. The previous fee hike was in February 2020.

In 2023, the Schengen region received over 10.3 million short-stay visa applications, a 37% year-on-year rise. However, this is still below the pre-pandemic peak of 17 million applications in 2019, according to the article.

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The visa fee hike also comes at a time when Europe seeks to attract tourists from around the globe. On April 18, 2024, the European Commission introduced a new visa regime specifically for Indian citizens residing in India, referred to as a “visa cascade”. This included easier access to multi-entry visas, rewarding positive visa history, and the potential for a five-year visa.

The Schengen Visa is usually issued for short stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism, business or family visits.

The different types of Schengen visas include the Uniform Schengen Visa (USV) for short stays, the Airport Transit Visa (ATV), for passing through Schengen airports without entering the Schengen area, and the National Visa for stays longer than 90 days, according to a Firstpost article.

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The Schengen Area includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway.

While Norway is not officially a Schengen Area member, it still applies the same regulations.

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