BRUSSELS, The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee Monday backed changes to the EU Visa Code which establishes the procedures and conditions for issuing visas to nationals of more than 100 non-EU countries travelling to the EU for short periods up to 90 days.
The Committee partially endorsed the European Commission’s proposal, aimed at facilitating legitimate travel for tourism, trade and business, whilst preventing irregular immigration.
Some visa applicants may not need to present their applications in person and processing periods will be reduced.
Travellers will be able to hand in applications at the consulate of another EU member state if the one responsible is neither present nor represented in a given third country or if the competent one is more than 500 km away from their place of residence.
Travel health insurance will not be a prerequisite for requesting a visa and the general visa fee will increase from 60 to 80 euros (USD 68 to USD 90), with exceptions for some travellers, while children under 12, family members of EU nationals, students and researchers will have the fee waived.
The full parliament will now vote to confirm the new rules. After that EP and EU Council of Ministers will be able to start talks with a view to reaching an agreement.
Currently, travellers from 104 countries and entities are required to have a visa in order to enter the EU. The number of visa applications has increased by 50 percent in the last few years, from 10.2 million in 2009 to 15.2 million in 2016.
Source: Kuwait News Agency