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“European Union Implements Favourable Schengen Visa Rules for Indians: Longer Validity, Multiple Entry Options Now Available”

On April 18, 2024, the European Commission introduced revised regulations concerning the issuance of Schengen visas for Indian nationals, offering more favourable terms compared to previous standards outlined in the Visa Code. Under this updated visa “cascade” system, Indian residents applying for Schengen short-stay visas in India now have access to multiple-entry visas with extended validity periods, provided they have a documented history of lawful visa usage.

According to the newly established regime, Indian citizens can now obtain long-term, multi-entry Schengen visas valid for up to two years, subsequent to demonstrating a consistent record of obtaining and utilising two visas within the preceding three years. Following the two-year visa, eligible applicants may then qualify for a visa with a validity period of up to five years, contingent upon the remaining validity of their passport. Throughout the duration of these extended visas, holders enjoy privileges akin to those of visa-free nationals.

This decision reflects the EU’s commitment to fostering stronger ties with India, as outlined in the EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility. Emphasising comprehensive cooperation on migration policy, the agenda underscores the facilitation of people-to-people interactions as a pivotal component, given India’s significance as a strategic partner for the EU.

Schengen visas afford holders the freedom to travel within the Schengen area for short stays, not exceeding 90 days within any 180-day period. While these visas are not tied to specific purposes, they do not confer the right to engage in employment. Notably, the Schengen area encompasses 29 European countries, including 25 EU member states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

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