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European Union Ruling Eases Access to Visas for Indian Nationals

On 18 April 2024, the European Union (EU) took up several rules for the issue of multiple-entry visas for Indian travellers. These rules are more favourable than the existing standard rules of the Visa Code. A press release by the EU refers to this development as the new “cascade regime” that would provide better opportunities for frequent travellers from India to opt for multiple-entry Schengen (short stay) visas. The new rules will provide easier access to visas with multi-year validity to Indian travellers with an established travel history as per their passport validity.

New Rule

According to the new rule, if an Indian national has obtained and lawfully used two visas in the last three years, they are eligible for long-term, multi-entry Schengen visas, which will remain valid for two years. This two-year visa will be followed by one that has a five-year validity if the traveller’s passport is still valid. During their tenure, these visas will allow Indian travellers to enjoy the same rights as visa-free nationals.

EU-India Relations

India is an essential partner of the EU. The EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility attempts to strengthen cooperation between India and the EU on migration policies and facilitate people-to-people contacts. The adoption of new rules for applicants for Schengen visas is another step in the agenda above to deepen ties between India and the EU. According to Mr. Hervé Delphin, the Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to India, “???????? takes another step towards enhancing people-to-people contact with India. New #Schengen #visa regime gives India frequent travellers access to multi-year visa (up to 5 y.) Europe delivers on the partnership!”

Current Schengen Rules

A Schengen visa holder is currently allowed to travel for a maximum of 90 days in 180 days in the Schengen area of the EU. Although Schengen visas are not strictly purpose-bound, they do not grant holders the right to work in the Schengen countries. Of the 29 European countries in the Schengen area, 25 are EU states. The 29 countries are Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

The new rules grant Indian travellers more straightforward access to European countries. The new visa rules will positively impact EU-India relations and strengthen their Agenda on Migration and Mobility by boosting tourism in the EU states.