Come February 2020, Filipinos will have to pay 80 euros for a Schengen visa, a 25 percent increase over the current 60 euros for a Schengen visa application. Visas for children will cost 40 euros, which are presently priced at 35 euros.
The changes are due to the updated Schengen Visa Code adopted by the European Union in June. The new rules also will allow Filipinos to submit an application up to six months in advance of their trip, instead of the present three months.
The changes are seen to accommodate the issuing of more multiple-entry visas with lengthier validity for regular travelers with a positive visa history. According to SchengenVisaInfo.com, the Schengen member states are now obliged to cooperate with external service providers in order to facilitate visa applications for Filipino travelers.
The external service providers are allowed to charge a service fee, which cannot be higher than the visa fee. This means Filipinos applying at an external visa service provider may have to pay up to 160 euros per visa application if the external service providers set the maximum service fee permitted, which is 80 euros.
Every three years, there will be an assessment on whether the visa fees should increase or not, depending on how cooperative third countries are, such as the Philippines.
According to Gent Ukehajdaraj from Schengen Visa Info, fees may increase even to 160 euros, if the EU authorities see it necessary.
“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,” Gent 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.
Statistics by schengenvisainfo.com show that in 2018, Schengen embassies and consulates in the Philippines processed 175,703 visa applications, 14,440 of which were rejected at a rejection rate of 8.2%.
The Netherlands was the top favorite country for visa submission, as 42,338 of the applications submitted in the Philippines were for Schengen visas to the Netherlands, followed by France with 33,193 and Spain with 19,410 applications.
In terms of expenditures, in 2018, Filipinos spent 10,542,180 euros in visa applications to Europe, of which 866,400 euros was spent by applicants who had their visas rejected.
This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.