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Indians can rejoice! New Schengen visa rules make it easier to visit Europe.

schengen visa

The process for obtaining short-term Schengen visas in India has been streamlined for applicants with a documented history of travel. These travelers may be eligible for multi-year visas, but passport validity remains a factor.

EU Introduces Schengen ‘Cascade’ Visa Regime

In a bid to strengthen people-to-people connections, the European Union (EU) has unveiled a new Schengen ‘Cascade’ Visa regime. This initiative allows frequent travelers from India to EU countries to obtain multiple-entry visas valid for five years.

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Context and Purpose

The decision is part of efforts to bolster relations under the EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility. This agenda aims to promote inclusive cooperation on migration policy, with a focus on facilitating people-to-people interactions. The move underscores the significance of India as a strategic partner for the EU.

Updated Visa Rules

On April 18, the European Commission announced specific rules for issuing multiple-entry visas to Indian nationals, superseding the standard Visa Code regulations. This change is designed to simplify visa applications for Indian passport holders residing in India who frequently travel to Schengen countries.

Cascade Regime: Key Details

Under the new regime, Indian passport holders residing in India can apply for short-term stay Schengen visas with multi-year validity, based on their established travel history and passport validity. Travelers with a history of lawful visa usage and passports valid for more than six months can easily obtain multiple-entry visas.

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Visa Validity and Cascade System

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. Subsequently, a five-year visa may be issued, contingent upon sufficient passport validity.

Benefits and Travel Rights

Visa holders under this regime enjoy travel rights equivalent to visa-free nationals during the visa’s validity period. However, the visa does not confer the right to work.

Schengen Area and Participating Countries

The Schengen visa allows holders to travel freely within the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. The Schengen area includes 29 European countries, of which 25 are EU states, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

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