EU proposes easier Schengen visa rules

2014-04-02 09:03
Brussels - The European Union's executive on Tuesday proposed simplifying the rules to obtain a Schengen-area visa, for example through multiple-entry permits, in the hope of encouraging more travel to the bloc and boosting tourism income.  

The changes could help with economic recovery in the crisis-battered EU, by bringing in an estimated 130 billion euros (R1.8 trillion at R14.60/euro) over five years and helping to create 1.3 million jobs, according to the European Commission.  

The Schengen area comprises 22 of the EU's 28 member states - Bulgaria, Croatia, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Britain are not included - as well as non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.  

"Europe needs a smarter visa policy," said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.  

"We need to attract more tourists, business people, researchers, students, artists and culture professionals to our shores."

At the same time, she sought to dispel EU fears about migrants unlawfully entering the bloc, by stressing that the regulations would preserve "a high level of security at our borders."  

"Tourism is Europe's growth engine and has been the most important stronghold of European economy during the recent crisis," added EU Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani.  

The changes could lead to a 60% increase in visitors from six key countries - China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Ukraine - the commission said, after 6.6 million potential travellers from these markets had been put off in 2012 by cumbersome visa rules.  

The measures include reducing visa processing times; simplifying application forms, including online procedures; removing the need to buy travel insurance; offering one-year visas to tour the bloc; and allowing EU embassies to handle requests on behalf of other member states.  

The measures require the approval of EU member states and the European Parliament, which is not expected before 2015, the commission said.  A total of 17.2 million people applied for Schengen visas in 2013, according to the commission, with the bulk coming from Russia.  

That country alone accounted for more than 6 million visa applications in 2012.
Read more on:    visas  |  travel  |  travel international

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


Millions of plastic particles in our food!

Scientists and researchers believe that almost five million tons of plastic is dumped in the oceans every year and it’s affecting our food.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.