EU introduces five-year multiple-entry Schengen visa for Indians

EU introduces five-year multiple-entry Schengen visa for Indians

NEW DELHI: The European Commission has decided to offer Indians multiple-entry visas, making travel within the EU easier for Indians.

“Travel to Europe has been made easier, as the EU takes another step towards enhancing people-to-people contact with India. The new Schengen visa regime will enable frequent fliers from India easier access through multi-year visas (up to 5 years),” said EU Ambassador to India, Herve Delphin.

This new visa 'cascade' regime will be open to Indian nationals residing in India who apply for Schengen short-stay visas.

Such visas are likely to be issued in India for travellers with an established travel history, provided the passport validity allows.

According to the newly adopted visa 'cascade' regime for India, Indian nationals can now be issued long-term, multi-entry Schengen visas valid for two years after having obtained and lawfully used two visas within the previous three years. The two-year visa will normally be followed by a five-year visa if the passport has sufficient validity remaining. During the validity period of these visas, holders enjoy travel rights equivalent to visa-free nationals.

This decision comes in the context of strengthened relations under the EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, which seeks comprehensive cooperation on migration policy between the EU and India, with the facilitation of people-to-people contacts being a key aspect due to the importance of India as a partner for the EU.

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

The Schengen area consists of 29 European countries (of which 25 are 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, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.