From February 2, 2020, Nigerians will have to pay an increased fee of €80 when applying for a visa to Schengen countries.
Schengen refers to the European Union (EU) passport-free zone that covers 26 European countries.
According to an official from the information monitoring and media division of Lithuania, the increase follows the implementation of the updated Schengen visa code adopted by the EU Council in June.
The new fee is €20 more than the €60 currently being charged for the visa application.
Nigerian children applying for visa will also now pay €40 instead of €35.
Nigerians will also be subject to several changes in terms of visa application procedures, rules and benefits.
All representative missions of the Schengen countries located abroad are obliged to apply the new rules.
“Since Regulation (EU) 2019/1155 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 amending Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) is binding in its entirety, and is directly applicable in all EU Member States in accordance with the Treaties, all Schengen countries, including Lithuania, will apply it from 2 February 2020,” the Lithuanian official said.
The new rules also permit Nigerians to submit an application up to six months in advance of their trip, instead of three as it is now.
It also foresees a harmonised approach to the issuing of multiple-entry visas with lengthier validity to regular travelers with a positive visa history.
According to the Schengen visa website, member states that are not represented in Nigeria in terms of visa admission, are now obliged to cooperate with external service providers in order to facilitate visa application for travelers.
The external service providers, it says, are allowed to charge a service fee, which cannot be higher than the visa fee. This means Nigerians applying at an external visa service provider may have to pay up to €160 per visa application if the external service providers set the maximum service fee permitted, which is €80.
The updated visa code also introduces a mechanism that assesses whether the visa fees should change every three years.
“According to Gent Ukëhajdaraj from SchengenVisaInfo.com, due to this mechanism, the fees may increase even to €160, if the EU authorities see it necessary,” information on the website reads.
“A visa fee of €120 or €160 will apply to non-cooperative third-countries, in cases when the EU Commission considers that action is needed in order to improve the level of cooperation of the third country concerned and the Union’s overall relations with that third country,” Ukëhajdaraj explains, adding that this provision shall not apply to children under 12 years old.”
“The mechanism may also shorten visa validity, and introduce prolonged visa processing periods.”
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