Indians Can Apply For Multi-Entry Schengen Visa

An EU delegation to India stated that visa-free national equivalent travel rights will be granted during the validity period
Road sign for Schengen town on the western bank of the river Moselle, Luxembourg, the birthplace of the Schengen Agreement and common visa policy, which abolished passport and border control
Road sign for Schengen town on the western bank of the river Moselle, Luxembourg, the birthplace of the Schengen Agreement and common visa policy, which abolished passport and border control Savvapanf Photo on

The European Union has made changes in the existing rules for Indian travellers frequenting Europe. On 18 April, the European Union (EU) adopted new rules for travellers from India. As a result, Indian citizens will now be able to apply for multiple-entry Schengen visas with up to five years of validity. Herve Delphin, European Union's ambassador to India, described the new visa regime as a move towards enhancing people-to-people contact between the two sides. The new visa rules will make it easier for Indian travelers to obtain visas under the "new cascade regime".

Multi-Year Validity

According to an EU readout, on April 18, the European Commission adopted specific rules on the issuance of multiple entry visas to Indian nationals, which are more favourable than the standard rules of the visa code that were applicable until now. This new visa 'cascade' regime for Indian nationals residing in India who apply for Schengen (short-stay) visas in India will provide easier access to visas with multi-year validity for travelers with an established travel history.

"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 readout said. "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," it said.

The recent changes in visa norms have been introduced in the context of "strengthened" relations between the EU and India. This is part of the EU-India common agenda on migration and mobility, which seeks to establish comprehensive cooperation on migration policy between the two sides.

About Schengen Visas

Schengen visas allow the holder to travel freely within the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. These visas are not tied to any specific purpose, but they do not grant the right to work.

The Schengen area comprises of 29 European countries, out of which 25 are EU states. These countries are 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.

Piata Sfatului Square in Brasov, Romania
Piata Sfatului Square in Brasov, Romaniaaaddyy/Shutterstock

Digital Visas

In 2023, the European Union member states' ambassadors gave the green light to negotiate a proposal to digitise the Schengen visa procedure, allowing travellers to apply for a visa online instead of going to the consulate in person. Under this, the current visa sticker will be replaced with a digital visa, which is much safer and will prevent the falsification of documents and theft of visa stickers. The new process will also be much more efficient and convenient for travellers, as they won't have to make multiple trips to the consulate.

Recent Additions

Travelling across Europe on a single continent-wide visa is a seamless way for tourists to hop from one destination to the next without the hassle of multiple visas. Recently, it was announced that two more countries have joined the Schengen area. Romania and Bulgaria began issuing Schengen C visas to foreign travellers from April 1, 2024. Their addition to the Schengen area takes the total number of countries that have a common visa policy for international travellers to 29. Read more about it here.

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