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Schengen Visa: New Rules from January 2020

Schengen Visa

Schengen Visa: New rules that came into force in 2020 in the Schengen area for tourists. How to calculate the term of stay in the Schengen. What does a visa for 90 days mean. Obtaining a Schengen visa is a very convenient way of free movement almost throughout Europe. Having received permission to enter one European country, you can travel almost all over Europe, stopping at the border except for the photographic capture of this fact. No lines, customs inspection and passport control.

But one should not think that there isյօբ no control at all. In fact, in the Schengen free zone, there are quite strict rules for entry on a Schengen visa, place and duration of stay. Ignoring which may close the possibility of obtaining permission to enter the country in the future.

Formal Application and Registration Rules

Three main limitations

Despite the fact that initially and until now the European Union declared freedom of movement of people without borders, there are certain Schengen rules regarding foreigners. Which are also valid in 2020.

There are only three of them:

  • First entry rule;
  • Rule of the main country;
  • Limitation of stay.

If you are planning a trip to Europe, you should carefully study them before applying for a visa. Because the violation of these, at first glance, uncontrolled rules by anyone, can lead to very sad consequences. Because the lack of supervision over their implementation is only apparent. Back to the table of contents

First entry rule

There is no Schengen country on the map. This is just a village in Luxembourg, where almost thirty years ago an agreement was signed on the abolition of the visa regime between five European countries. And today, two and a half dozen countries are included in the Schengen zone. And you need to get a visa in one of them.

If you plan to visit only one country, then everything is quite simple. You need to collect all the documents and go to the appropriate embassy, ​​consulate, visa center or travel agency. Even if you later want to go on an excursion to a neighboring country, no one will have questions.

But Europe is not so big. Crossing it by car or train can be easily done in a fairly short time. And the lack of boundaries makes this event simple and easy. And it seems to some that you can apply for any visa at the embassy, ​​which is conveniently located. But this is not so.

The first entry into Schengen should be in the country that issued the visa. This is the first entry rule. But a literal understanding of this rule gives rise to confusion and myths that it should not be violated in any case. Therefore, you should start your trip exactly to the state where you applied for a visa.

It should not be thought that if a Spanish visa is issued , then it will not be possible to get to any other country earlier. No one will close the border in front of a tourist if he flew to Paris and gets on by bus or car. This rule works a little differently.

  • For holders of a single visa, it means that they must spend most of their travels in the country whose visa they received.

Travel through other countries, not exceeding 1-5 days, will be considered as transit. This is true, for example, for bus tours or for traveling by car.

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But for those who plan to use a multi-visa for approximately the same length of stay in several countries, the order of their visits already matters. However, even in these situations, violation of this rule does not have serious consequences.

Simply, if the country of first entry does not coincide with the visa that you received, when applying for the next one, you can get a recommendation to contact another embassy. When the reason for the refusal is only in violation of the rules of the first entry, then you should not have problems with the repeated multivisa.

Schengen Visa picture

There is one more situation when this rule should be taken into account when choosing a country for obtaining a visa. It is mainly related to car trips. In this situation, it may turn out that in a country through which you have to pass on the way there and back, in total more time will be accumulated than in any other.

For example, on a trip to the countries of Scandinavia, you will have to spend 2 nights in Finland on the way there, then spend a couple of days in Norway and Sweden and returning through Finland to stay there again for the night. It turns out that the longest will have to be in the territory of this particular country, in addition, it is the first on the list. Therefore, you will need to apply for a visa at the Finnish consulate.

Host Country Rule

Another, at first glance, an optional rule. It applies only to short-term visas, while it does not matter whether it is a single entry or multivisa. A long-term, or national visa , issued to someone who is going to live, study or work in a certain country, already implies choosing it as the main one.

For short visits, you will have to independently determine which country to consider the main one. And apply to this embassy with a visa application.

  • The rules for using a Schengen visa issued for a single entry are simple: the main country is where it is planned to spend the most time.

To determine this, it is necessary to calculate the number of days that are planned to be spent in each of the states that have a desire to visit. This is easiest to do if hotels are booked. Having determined where there will be more overnight stays, we get the desired one — the main country. Then it remains to go to the right embassy and hand over the documents.

If it is planned to stay equal time in each of the states, for example, on a cruise, then it is better to apply the rule of the country of first entry. This will avoid confusion and worries about the right choice. As well as a possible failure in the future. Agree, it’s hard to count on the loyalty of a country where you have hardly been.

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Multiple entry visa holders should also do the counting. But not so many days as the number of trips. The largest number of visits should come from the country whose visa is in the passport. A mistake may be worth the opportunity to get the next multivisa to this country. But not in any other. That is, an error in the calculations will not close the road to Europe.

The rule of the main country also applies to fairly rare cases of obtaining a double transit visa. It is issued if a transfer is planned in one of the Schengen countries for a further trip outside the region and subsequent return. The principle of applying the rule is the same. Where there are more overnight stays during transit, there is the main country. For an equal length of stay – the rule of the country of first entry is applicable.

Duration of stay in the Schengen area

More recently, more precisely, from October 18, 2013, amendments to the rules for entering the Schengen countries came into force, which are also valid in 2020. The new rules relate to periods of stay in Europe. Those who have a single-entry tourist visa are not affected by these innovations. But the owners of multi-visions will fully experience all the disadvantages and advantages of these requirements.

As before the entry into force of the new regulation, the duration of stay on a Schengen visa in any of the states remained equal to three months.


But now they will have to be used in a new way, based on updated rules. Because now the wording has changed a bit.

If earlier for using 90 days of permissible stay in the country there were six calendar months, after which it was possible to stay as much if the next visa was issued, now everything is much more strict. And combining the two periods in order to spend six months in Europe with one trip will no longer work.

The visa half year for each tourist will be counted individually, from the moment of the first border crossing. But not forward, but backward. During this time, you can stay in the EU countries for a total of 90 days, that is, three months. If you use them all at once, having spent, for example, summer vacation, then over the next three months, entry into Europe will be closed.

But the main thing is that, according to the new rules, calculating the stay of days in Schengen is becoming quite difficult. In order to facilitate it, special calculators have appeared on embassy websites, using which you can determine how many days abroad you can count on in the near future.

It’s worth saying right away that canceling a visa and opening a new one will not help to deceive the system. All visas, both valid and already extinguished, are taken into account.

  • Any 180 days in total should not contain more than 90 spent in the Schengen zone. And control at the border is thorough.

But counting the days left to stay in Europe, applies not only to the tourist himself. If he is not allowed into the country due to a violation of existing visa rules, the air carrier and travel agency will be forced to return a negligent client to their homeland at their own expense. So when selling tickets and checking at the airport of departure, all this is also taken into account.

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The new rules for staying on a Schengen visa are quite strict. Their introduction was aimed at cutting off those who enjoyed the ease of obtaining a tourist visa for other, not tourist, purposes. And also to minimize possible violations of the visa regime by not too conscientious tourists.

However, this rule still does not apply to European countries that are not members of the Schengen zone. These are the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and Croatia. Obtaining visas and staying in these states is determined by their own legislation.

What other innovations await tourists

On September 14, 2015, another rule came into force regarding visits to Schengen countries. However, it concerns not entry, but the issuance of a Schengen visa . To obtain permission to enter any of the Schengen countries, you must pass fingerprints. Which implies the personal presence of the applicant at the embassy. Schengen Visa picture

Those who have a valid visa will undergo the procedure only upon re-obtaining it. In total, it is planned to conduct it for every tourist once every five years. Information will be stored in a single information system, from where it will come when applying for a visa. In addition to fingerprints, digital photos and personal data are entered into the database.

In addition, the same system stores all information about people contacting consulates over the past five years and answers to these statements. This allows you to see the entire “visa history” of each applicant and give a reasoned refusal if it becomes clear that he has abused his rights.

The use of biometric data to obtain a Schengen visa , according to representatives of the European Union, helps protect confidential information about citizens issued to them by passports and visas. Identity theft has become almost impossible.

In 2020, the procedure for fingerprints as well as in previous years, is mandatory. All major country offices are equipped with a special scanning and photographing system. There is also a mobile system for fingerprinting at home or in the office.

Innovations since February 2, 2020

In June 2019, the EU Council approved new rules for obtaining Schengen multiple-entry visas, they begin to operate on February 2, 2020.

  1. To apply for a multi-visa, you must first use for their intended purpose 3 short-term entry permits for the last 2 years.
  2. After that, it is possible to issue an annual multivisa, then – for a period of 2 years.
  3. Only if all previous visas were used without violation, the document can be issued for 5 years. These rules are now valid in all consulates of the Schengen countries.
  4. If the traveler has a good visa history, countries can issue long-term visas for 5 years.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the rules of entry and the issuance of a Schengen visa are in the comments on our website, you can also find answers to questions that are on the official website of the European Union in Russian .

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