Commission Introduces Temporary Restrictive Schengen Visa Measures for Bangladesh, Gambia, and Iraq

The European Commission has imposed restrictive measures for visa application and processing on Bangladesh, Gambia, and Iraq, according to a press release and Q&A published by the Commission.

The restrictive measures include:

  • The temporary suspension of issuing of multiple entry visas.
  •  Document waivers are suspended, meaning applicants must submit a full set of documentary evidence.
  • The 15-calendar day processing period is now suspended, meaning that it could take longer to process applications.

The restrictive measures do not suspend anyone’s right to apply for or be granted an EU or Schengen Visa, and should only apply to short-stay visas.

“Visa restrictions do not preclude an applicant’s right to submit an application for a visa or to be granted a visa. The measures mean that all applicants have to submit a full set of documentary evidence and that the 15 calendar days processing period as well as the issuing of multiple entry visas will be suspended. The optional visa fee waiver for holders of diplomatic and service passports should also be suspended,” the Q&A reads.

The restrictive measures are in response to the three partner countries’ lack of cooperation when repatriating their own citizens being returned to their country of origin from the EU. Some nationals originating from Iraq, Bangladesh, or Gambia have overstayed their visas in the EU, and their home countries have failed to reintegrate them when returned.

The Commission’s goal is to foster more cooperation between the EU and third countries to create a more sustainable and less-volatile international environment, with more trade and favorable visa measures.

“Effective return and readmission as well as sustainable reintegration are essential elements of comprehensive, balanced, tailor-made and mutually beneficial migration partnerships with countries outside the EU. Fostering co-operation is an important element of this policy and the EU needs to mobilise all available tools, including development co-operation, trade or visa. Improved and sustained cooperation could also potentially open the path to more favourable visa measures,” the press release reads.

The Commission’s next steps are to continue to work with the partner countries concerned to improve cooperation regarding their nationals’ readmission.

The European Council will examine the Commission’s proposals and vote on whether to adopt their decision. If it is adopted, it will come into force immediately. Within 6 months of its adoption, the Commission must report to the European Parliament and Council with the progress achieved and can take measures to amend or repeal the visa measures.

If the measures are found to be ineffective, an increase in visa processing fees could be implemented, raising the price of the standard visa fee to €120, with a maximum of €160.

To read the Commission’s press release, click this link. To read the Commission’s Q&A, click this link.

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