Switzerland Leads Schengen Members in Implementing Increased Visa Fees

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The Federal Council of Switzerland becomes the first Schengen member to conform to the European Parliament’s amendments of the European Union Visa Code when it aligned its regulations with the updated visa code.

The Swiss Federal Council announced in a press release that it will adjust the conditions for issuing visas, which will include higher visa fees.

At its meeting on 14 August 2019, the Federal Council decided to align the corresponding regulations with the amended European Visa Code. Key changes include linking the visa and return policy, increasing visa fees and accelerating visa procedures,” it stated in the press release.

It clarified that it will start to require applicants to pay the higher fees for Schengen visa to Switzerland starting from February 2, 2020.

Today, the Federal Council has implemented these changes in Swiss law by revising the Ordinance on Immigration and Visa, the Fees Ordinance on the Immigration and Integration Act and the Regulation on the Issue of Travel Documents for Foreigners,” the notice further explained.

The amendments to the Schengen Visa code were approved by the Council of the European Union on June 6, 2019. They received the full support of the EU Council that recognized their benefits in facilitating traveling to the Schengen Area as people travel for tourism, business, and trade. The Council also saw the positive contribution they will have to the internal security.

The new visa code imposes a price increase for a short-stay visa. From 60 euros, it will be adjusted to 80 euros to provide for tools for improved response to the challenges presented by illegal migration. It also provides a mechanism that determines whether the visa fees should be adjusted or maintained as is for every three years. The new code also directs EU member states to support and work with its external service providers for visa admission in non-EU countries that they have no presence in or not represented by another country. Frequent travelers to the Schengen Zone may be issued multiple-entry visas while additional facilities will be available for high profile personalities such as well known artists and high-performance athletes who tour the EU. 

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