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EU Announces Long-term Multi-Entry Schengen Visas for Indian Nationals

4 weeks ago

Photo Source: German Embassy

The European Union has unveiled a significant change in its visa policy, offering Indian nationals the opportunity to obtain long-term multi-entry Schengen visas lasting for two years, which is further extendable by 5 years, and stay there like visa-free nationals.

This development marks a pivotal shift in facilitating travel between India and European nations.

Expanded Visa Privileges- Long Term

Under the newly introduced Schengen visa regime, Indian passport holders can now enjoy multiple entries into any European country within the Schengen Area over a two-year period. Furthermore, this visa is extendable for up to five years, provided the passport maintains sufficient validity.

The European Union highlighted that this initiative aims to enhance people-to-people exchanges between India and Europe. “On April 18, the European Commission adopted specific rules on the issuing of multiple entry visas to Indian nationals, which are more favourable than the standard rules of the visa code that applied to date,” said the EU statement.

Herve Delphin, the European Union’s ambassador to India, hailed the revised visa regulations as a significant stride toward simplifying travel to Europe. “Travel to Europe made easy,” Delphin remarked.

Transition to the ‘Cascade Regime’

This policy departure marks a departure from the traditional practice where Indian travelers would typically apply for short-term Schengen visas, limited to stays of up to three months.

The ‘cascade regime’ now permits Indian nationals to remain in Schengen countries such as Switzerland, Amsterdam, and others for up to two years, with the possibility of extension, thereby facilitating extended stays without complications.

“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,” said the EU statement.

Visa Limitations

While the extended visa facilitates extensive travel within Europe, it does not grant holders the right to work or earn income within the Schengen countries. However, the subsequent five-year visa, contingent on passport validity, ensures continued travel privileges akin to visa-free nationals during its validity period.

“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,” reads the statement shared by Herve Delphin, Ambassador, Delegation of European Union to India on ‘X’ Platform.

Implications and Future Prospects

The adoption of these favorable Schengen visa rules by the European Union heralds a potential boost in the global standing of Indian passports, making travel to 29 European countries more seamless and hassle-free.

The revised visa norms align with the EU-India common agenda on migration and mobility. According to the EU statement, the changes in the visa norms came 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 two sides.

This development also underscores the strengthening partnership between Europe and India, as seen through the recent developments in the Schengen agreement. For instance, recently France relaxed its visa rules for Indian students.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in July 2023, the nation extended a five-year post-study visa to Indian students completing their master’s degrees, replacing the previous two-year work visa policy.

Schengen Area:

The Schengen area comprises 29 European countries of which 25 are EU states. These include 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. Indian travelers can now explore these diverse array of destinations with greater convenience.