New Schengen visa rules announced; longer validity and easier access to Indian nationals

New Schengen visa rules announced; longer validity and easier access to Indian nationals

The EU’s ‘cascade’ visa scheme for Indian citizens offers extended validity multiple-entry visas, strengthening ties with India.

The European Union has introduced a new visa scheme called ‘cascade’ for Indian citizens residing in India applying for Schengen visas. Under this scheme, Indian travellers can now obtain multiple-entry visas with longer validity. The aim is to facilitate easier access to visas for those with a proven travel history, as long as their passport permits it.

The European Commission’s recent initiative, approved on April 18th, marks a shift from the traditional Visa Code regulations for Indian nationals. These updated rules provide more advantageous terms for acquiring multiple entry visas, demonstrating the EU’s commitment to enhancing relations with India and encouraging tourism and business interactions between the two regions.

Under the newly adopted visa “cascade” regime for India, Indian nationals are eligible for long-term, multi-entry Schengen visas with extended validity. To qualify for a two-year visa, individuals must have obtained and lawfully used two visas within the previous three years. Following this, if their passport has sufficient validity remaining, they can typically receive a five-year visa.

During the validity period of these visas, holders are granted travel rights equivalent to those of visa-free nationals. This means they can enter and exit Schengen countries multiple times without the need for separate visas.

The EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility includes implementing a new regime to enhance cooperation between the two regions. This move emphasises the importance of fostering people-to-people contacts to strengthen ties between the EU and India in various areas.

Schengen visas allow the holder to travel freely within the Schengen area, which consists of 29 European countries, including 25 EU member states and four non-EU countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland). These visas permit short stays of up to 90 days within any 180-day period.

It’s important to note that Schengen visas are not tied to a specific purpose, meaning they can be used for tourism, business, or visiting friends and family. However, they do not grant the right to work within the Schengen area.

This visa arrangement simplifies travel within Europe, as travellers only need one visa to visit multiple countries within the Schengen area, rather than obtaining separate visas for each country.

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