South Africans will be subject to several changes in terms of visa application procedures, rules and benefits, starting from February.
Due to the implementation of the Updated Schengen Visa Code, adopted by the EU Council in June 2019, all representative missions of the Schengen Countries located abroad are obliged to apply the new rules, including the ones in South Africa.
The Schengen visa is one of the most famous visas in the world, and one of the best to have.
Granting to its holder the possibility of traveling to 26 European countries, 22 of them part of the European Union, the number of Schengen visa applicants has been steadily increasing every year.
Currently, travellers from 104 countries and entities need to obtain a visa to enter the EU for stays up to three-months within the Schengen Zone.
Below BusinessTech looked at some of the most notable changes and what they will mean for travellers.
The most notable change is increased prices for all Schengen visa applicants.
The fee visa is expected to increase from €60 (R958) to €80 (R1,277) per application. In addition, children over the age of six will now have to pay €40 (R638) instead of the previous lower fee of €35 (R559) per application;
Travellers who frequently visit the Schengen area will now be able to stay for longer periods of time, subject to certain criteria.
This criteria includes applicants who are arriving from a country with a good economic status and those who can show that they have a genuine intention to leave.
Should these criteria be met, applicants may be eligible to receive multiple-entry visas for five years
Longer application times
The new rules also permit South Africans to submit an application up to six months in advance of their trip, instead of the current three-month window.