EU Proposes 12% Schengen Visa Fee Hike Amid Inflation

EU Proposes 12% Schengen Visa Fee Hike Amid Inflation

The European Commission has put forward a draft to raise the cost of applying for a Schengen visa by 12% in 2024, citing the impact of inflation across the European Union (EU).

If approved after a public feedback period ending March 1st, the revisions would increase the standard visa price from €80 to €90 for adults and from €40 to €45 for children aged 6 to 12.

First Schengen Visa Fee Revision in Three Years

The Schengen visa allows holders to travel freely within the 27 European countries for up to 90 days over a 180-day period.

Per Schengen Area rules, the fees are re-evaluated every three years based on the general EU inflation rate.

With inflation recently hitting record double-digit highs, the Commission states the proposed hikes reflect “the need to respond to increasing costs in EU economies.”

The organization emphasized that any revenue generated by Schengen visas goes directly toward running associated IT systems, staff, and consular infrastructure.

Uncooperative Countries Mean Higher Schengen Visa Costs

In the proposal, more significant percentage increases were introduced for countries deemed uncooperative regarding the return and readmission of citizens found to be illegally staying in the Schengen Area.

For these nations, the EU plans to lift the visa price from €120 to €135 for standard applications, representing a nearly 13% increase.

The fee would jump by over 12% for uncooperative countries, rising from €160 to €180 per visa application.

External Schengen Visa Providers Can Match Fee Hike

The Commission also put forward the idea of allowing external bodies that process Schengen visa applications on behalf of member states to raise their service charges.

Visa agencies and similar processors can currently charge up to half of the standard fee.

Under the latest proposals, the absolute maximum external processors could charge would increase marginally from €40 to €45 per service.

The €30 visa extension fee will remain unchanged for all applicants in any scenario.

EU Seeks Feedback

A four-week public feedback period is now open for EU citizens and residents to share their views on the validity of the visa price adjustments.

The Commission held preliminary discussions on revising the fees at a working group session with Schengen state experts last December.

Once the feedback period ends on March 1st, 2024, the EU can move to officially adopt the new visa costs.

Changes typically come into effect 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Schengen Visa Requirements Set to Change with ETIAS

Alongside the price hike, the EU emphasized plans to roll out a fully digital Schengen visa system by 2028.

Applicants would lodge all documentation online via a centralized platform.

The bloc also reaffirmed proposals for a new pre-travel scheme called the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

Once launched, citizens from over 60 visa-exempt countries will need to obtain special permits before entering the Schengen zone.

Will the Revised Schengen Visa Fees Receive Public Backing?

With rising costs and infrastructure overheads, the EU feels a moderate increase is warranted three years after the last Schengen visa fee adjustment.

Mandating a higher price for non-cooperative nations aims to push for greater collaboration on immigration enforcement policies.

Interested parties can still officially relay opinions on the changes in the coming weeks before the revisions likely come into legal force.

The updates also accompany broader standardization of Schengen entry rules through upcoming digitalization efforts and the ETIAS project.