EU Visa Code

EU Visa Code

Since 5 April 2010, the EU Visa Code has become applicable. The Visa Code is an EU regulation and has been adopted in order to increase the transparency, simplify and accelerate the procedures concerning Schengen visas.

The EU Visa Code is compulsory for all the Schengen states (EU Member States, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland / except for the UK and Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus).

The Visa Code concerns ‘airport transit visas’(A), ‘transit visas’(B), ‘short stays visas’(C), ‘national long stay visas’(D+C), and ‘long stay visa’ (D).

What will change regarding the types of visas?

  • ‘Transit visa (B)’ and ‘short stay visa (C)’ are merged.  This means that, from now on there will be no longer a distinction between a stay of less than 5 days (transit visa), and a stay of less than 3 months (short stay visa). In other words, in any case any artist entering under the ‘short stay visa’ in the Schengen area can stay there up to 3 months.  

BUT be careful: the validity of the visa will be matched with the purpose of the stay. 

  • ‘Airport transit visas’ (A):  Nationals from some third countries (such as Iraq, Sri Lanki, Bangladesh, …) must hold an ‘airport transit visa’ in order to be allowed to transit through the international zone of a Schengen airport without entering the Schengen territory, for reasons of security. The list of these third countries (12 in total) is now given by the Visa Code (Annex IV). 
  • Abolishment of the ‘National long stay visa’ (D+C): If a national from a third country wants to stay more than 3 months in a Schengen state, he has to hold a ‘long-stay visa’(D). The characteristics of this ‘long-stay visa’(D) (e.g. duration of the allowed stay, conditions of delivery, ...) are defined differently by each state. Until now, the visa ‘D’ allowed the holder to stay only in the state that had delivered it.

If the holder also wanted to travel to other countries within the Schengen area, he had to obtain another visa : the so-called ‘national long-stay visa’(D+C). With this D+C visa he could move freely in the Schengen area during a period of 3 months.

Benefits for touring in Europe
What has changed here? The extra demand for being able to travel in the Schengen zone when holding a long stay visa, thus the ‘national long-stay visa’(D+C), is now abolished. In other words, it will be now enough to simply apply for and hold a ‘long-stay visa’(D) in order to be able to travel in the Schengen zone. This is a change which will help and improve the touring with third-country national artists in the Schengen zone.

BUT difficulties may appear when working with artists for longer than three months involved in touring. If a third country artist holds a ‘long-stay visa’(D), which allows him to stay longer than 3 months in the Schengen state that gave him the visa, he can only travel freely in the territory of Schengen area for a period up to 3 months within a 6 months period.  

What will change from now on to facilitate the application procedures? 

Duration of the visa application
Member States must ensure an appointment for the applicant within a period of two weeks maximum and are obliged to take a final decision on the application within 15 days maximum  (Only under exceptional circumstances and in individual cases this deadline can be exceeded).


The general fee is 60 € (children from 6-12 years: 35 €). BUT Representatives of non-profit organisations, aged 25 years or less, participating in seminars, conference, sports, cultural or educational events organised by non-profit organisations are exempted from paying the visa fee.

In case of refusal of visa

From now on, the refusal of a visa has to be motivated by one of the standard grounds set out in the Visa Code (e.g. presenting a false travel document). If an application for a visa is rejected by the Consular, the applicant has now a right to appeal of this negative decision, and so to question the Consular on its reasons for refusing the visa.

Application form
The application form has been simplified, with approximately 10 questions less, including the part concerning the spouse’s situation.

More information

EU regulation and the Regulation's summary

Press release European Union


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