TOURISTS who will travel to Europe are prepared to pay more for a Schengen visa. The European Commission submitted a proposal to increase the basic visa fees for the 27 European countries in the Schengen area starting in 2024.

If approved, the cost of a Schengen visa will increase by 12% from €80 or IDR 1.35 million to €90 or IDR1.5 million for adults and from €40 IDR675 thousand to €45 or IDR800 thousand for children. The fee will be higher for countries accepting the re-entry of tourists expelled from Schengen member countries, from €120 or around IDR2 million to €135 or around IDR2.3 million and from €160 or IDR2.7 million to € 180 or around IDR3 million.

External Schengen visa providers, such as visa agents, are allowed to increase the maximum fee by €45, up from €40, which is half the standard fee. The Schengen visa extension fee will not change, namely €30 or around IDR500 thousand.

Get to know the Schengen area
The Schengen area consists of 27 European member states that operate under a unified visa policy. Citizens of these member countries have the facility of visa-free travel within the Schengen area for up to 90 days. These countries include Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Croatia. Bulgaria and Romania will reportedly join in March 2024.

However, for citizens of non-EU member countries, such as South Africa, Pakistan, India, China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, obtaining a Schengen visa is mandatory. Especially for citizens of the United Kingdom, United States, Canada and Australia, they are exempt from Schengen visa requirements.

The European Commission presented a draft increase in Schengen visa fees on February 2 after a meeting in December. The majority of member states support the plan. Other EU countries have until March 1 to express their views on the proposal. After that, the EU can implement the changes, which then come into effect 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Reasons for cost increases
The strong reason behind the proposed increase in Schengen visa fees is due to rising inflation in the European Union. According to the European Commission, this requires adjusting visa fees to accommodate economic realities. This agency revises Schengen visa fees every three years.

Digital Schengen visa
The EU has also announced plans to implement a digital-only Schengen visa, which has been discussed in 2022. Travelers can apply online regardless of which country they want to visit. The digital version will replace the current sticker system in passports. This digital platform is expected to be introduced starting in 2028. [sources/photo special]