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Traveling To The Schengen Area In The Next Few Years

The countries in the EU/Schengen area receive tons of visitors every year, which is why these countries are working round the clock to make it easier and safer for both the travelers and the authorities. Recently, the European Union has put together new regulations, technological tools and schemes to accommodate its increasing number of visitors.

In a couple of years from now, there will be a number of changes in the way people travel to Europe. Travelers should arm themselves with these pieces of information and should be prepared. Check out some of the changes that are likely to take effect in the nearest future below;

Each Member State in Every Third Country to Get an Application Center

Travelers will not need to go to another country before they can apply for a Schengen visa. The Council of the EU in place the Amended Schengen border code in June 2018 which will ensure that frequent travelers to the Schengen area get clearer and faster procedures. This updated border code will also make it easier for travelers to apply without going to another country. From the beginning of 2020, the following will apply to every Schengen member;

Every Schengen member can be represented by another competent member state to examine and decide on every application received from travelers.

Increases Schengen visa fees

Because of the Schengen Visa code changes, from January 2020, travelers seeking a Schengen Visa will have to pay higher fees. There will be a 33.3% increment from 60 euros to 80 euros, and this is so that there will be enough tools to handle the challenge of illegal migration. The first Schengen member country to comply with this updated visa code is Switzerland. All Switzerland embassies and representative authorities will from February 2, 2020 charge 80 euros instead of 60 euros. Other countries in the Schengen zone will also increase their visa fees around that time too.

Travelers will soon be able to lodge Visa Applications in advance of up to six months

Up till now, travelers can only apply for visas three months before their travel date. But with the updated visa code, they can now pay for their visa applications six months before their travel date although travelers can still not file their visa application later than three months except in proven cases of urgency.

Passport Stamps will no longer be used

Non-EU travelers entering Schengen member-countries will no longer have their passports stamped after 2022. The new Entry/Exit System (EES) will replace the need for passport stamps since all entry and exit data have already been stored on the system.

ETIAS Visa

From January 2021, travelers will have to apply for ETIAS Visa and get approved before they can travel to the EU. ETIAS Visa is the first scheme in which the traveler is required to apply for authorization before traveling. ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. Applying for ETIAS takes roughly 15 minutes, and the approval confirmation will be sent to the traveler’s mail which they need to print and tender when entering the Schengen port.

Advanced Border Control Technology

There is a new border check technology that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency is trying out at the Lisbon Airport Authority to make it easier for travelers to get across the borders. This takes away the hassle of waiting in queues to tender passports to a border guard. Touchless scanning of fingerprints and face recognition make it possible to get on through the border. This technology will make it easier and secure for travelers. Another technology, iBorderCtrl, an artificial intelligence program, is currently in the works, and it will soon start working with border guards to detect the identities of everyone walking through the border checks.

What is it like for UK Nationals to Enter the Schengen Area?

Traveling to the EU is poised to become easier for many people, but it is not the same for citizens of the UK. The United Kingdom is exiting the European Union and its citizens will thus, no longer enjoy the privilege of traveling visa-free across Europe. From January 2021, UK citizens will need to apply for ETIAS Visa. Their passports must also be valid for up to three months after their planned stay, and it must not be older than ten years. They will also not be allowed to walk through the gates designated for EU nationals.


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