On 2 February, the European Commission published a draft initiative to increase Schengen visa fees this year by about 12%. If the proposal is approved, the cost for applying for a Schengen visa will increase from €80 to €90 for adults and from €40 to €45 for children from 6 to 12 years old.
The Commission explained that fees are being reviewed in line with the EU-wide inflation rate and salary developments for national civil servants over the past 3 years. The EU Visa Code tasks the Commission with an assessment of the need to revise the visa fees every three years. This provision became applicable in 2020 and the Commission has now carried out such an assessment for the three-year period since then.
There are 61 non-EU countries, two special administrative regions of China (Hong Kong and Macao) and two territorial authority that is not recognised as a state by at least one EU Member State (Taiwan and Kosovo) that do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Area. Nationals of all other countries or territories (listed in annex 1 of Regulation 2018/1806) have to apply for a visa when travelling to Schengen.
Currently, the visa fee for adults is €80 and for children aged between 6 to below 12 years is €40. However, if a country is found to show “insufficient cooperation on readmission“, the fee for adults can be increased to between €120 and €160. Moreover, if the visa applications are provided through a third party, the external service providers can only charge additional service fees equal to maximum half of the official cost, meaning €40 for adults and €20 for children for a total of €120 for adults and €60 for children.
If the proposal is approved, fees will increase to €90 for adults, €45 for children and €135 to €180 for adults of countries showing insufficient cooperation on readmission. Accordingly, maximum service fees charged by third parties will increase to €45 for adults and €22.5 for children. The €30 visa extension fee will remain unchanged for all applicants in any scenario.
The draft initiative is currently open to feedback and anyone, EU citizen or not, can post a review or suggestion. The feedback window closes on 1 March. Once approved, the regulation will enter into force within 20 days.