The European Union has presented the first plan of the comprehensive reform of the common visa policy. With the newly proposed reforms, it will be easier and faster to obtain visa. In 2016 alone, there were 16 million Schengen visa issued for legitimate travelers coming for short stays. Under the new system, the travelers will be able to submit their application up to 6 months before their trip and receive an answer within 10 days. There will also be a special scheme at the external or sea border where travelers will be able to get visa for stays under 7 days under strict conditions.
Moreover, trusted travelers who have used their previous visas lawfully will be issued multiple entry visas and will no longer have to go through the same visa procedure again. To deal with the travelers that are not genuine, the EU is proposing to revise the Visa Information System to allow for a more effective background check. Border guards and visa officers should have all the information available that they need to detect someone suspected of organized crime or someone with fraudulent documents.
The proposed changes to the visa policy are part of an overall migration and mobility policies overhaul. The new reform aims to boost cooperation with non-EU countries when it comes to irregular migrants and there will be stricter conditions for processing visas when a partner country does not cooperate sufficiently on the readmission of irregular migrants. A revamped EU visa-policy is key for an open and secure EU and comes among some positive statistics on all fronts, inside and outside the bloc. More than 34,000 individuals – more than 96% of eligible applicants – have been relocated with almost all member states contributing. The new resettlement program has already pledged to resettle 40,000 people and the EU Trust Fund for Africa keeps playing a key role in providing protection to refugees and migrants.