SCHENGEN AREA (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – IR)

News-CRUX-10     22nd May 2024        
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Context: Recently, the European Commission unveiled a global rise in short-stay Schengen visa fees, resulting in a 12% increase in the cost of Schengen visas (type C), affecting travelers intending to visit Europe.

Schengen Area

  • About: An area without internal border controls. 
  • Membership: The Schengen Area comprises 29 European countries. 

o25 EU states: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, and Sweden. 

oNon-EU members:  Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

oRecent entry: Bulgaria and Romania become Schengen members.

  • Origin: Named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement and the 1990 Schengen Convention, both signed in Schengen, Luxembourg. Operates as a single jurisdiction under a common visa policy for international travel purposes, facilitating ease of movement for citizens and visitors.

Schengen visa regulation: 

  • About: Schengen visas allow the holder to travel freely in the Schengen area for short stays of a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. 

oThe visas are not purpose-bound, but they do not grant the right to work.

  • Comparison with US Visas: While US offers 10-year visas to Indians for visit and tourism (B1/B2 category), Schengen countries typically issue travel date-specific visas.
  • New regulations: Indian nationals can now be issued long-term, multi-entry Schengen visas valid for two years after having obtained and used two visas in the past three years. The two-year visa will normally be followed by a five-year visa, if the passport has sufficient validity remaining.