Explanatory Memorandum to COM(2014)164 - Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast) - EU monitor

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dossier COM(2014)164 - Union Code on Visas (Visa Code) (recast).
source COM(2014)164 EN
date 01-04-2014
1. CONTEXT OF THE PROPOSAL

4.

Grounds for and objectives of the proposal


This proposal recasts and amends Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 i of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code).

This proposal takes into account the increased political emphasis given to the economic impact of visa policy on the wider European Union economy, and in particular on tourism, to ensure greater consistency with the growth objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, in line with the Commission's communication Implementation and development of the common visa policy to spur growth in the European Union.[1]

The proposal also builds on the conclusions drawn in the Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the evaluation of the implementation of the Visa Code. The report is accompanied by a Commission staff working paper containing the detailed evaluation.

This proposal also contains two measures to facilitate family contacts: It introduces certain procedural facilitations for close relatives coming to visit Union citizens residing in the territory of the Member State of which the latter are nationals and for close relatives of Union citizens living in a third country and wishing to visit together with the Union citizen the Member State of which the latter is a national.

Furthermore, it clarifies that the same procedural facilitations should as a minimum be granted to family members of EU citizens who benefit from article 5, second subparagraph of Directive 2004/38 i/EC on the rights of Union citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.

5.

General context


Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visa (Visa Code) became applicable on 5 April 2010. The provisions regarding notification and the requirements on providing the grounds of refusal, revocation and annulment of visas and the right to appeal against such decisions, became applicable on 5 April 2011.

Article 57 i of the Visa Code requires the Commission to send the European Parliament and the Council an evaluation of its application two years after all the provisions of the Visa Code have become applicable (i.e. 5 April 2013). The evaluation and accompanying staff working document have been submitted. Article 57 provides that the evaluation may be accompanied by a proposal for an amendment of the Regulation.

In the light of the evaluation report's conclusions, the Commission decided to submit this proposal for amendments to the legislation together with the report.

The proposed amendments while maintaining security at the external borders and ensuring the good functioning of the Schengen area, make travel easier for legitimate travellers and simplify the legal framework in the interest of Member States, e.g. by allowing more flexible rules on consular cooperation. The common visa policy should contribute to generating growth and be coherent with other EU policies on external relations, trade, education, culture and tourism.

6.

Existing provisions


Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code).

1.

RESULTS OF CONSULTATIONS WITH THE INTERESTED PARTIES AND IMPACT ASSESSMENT



7.

Consultation of interested parties


The consultation of interested parties is covered in the impact assessment accompanying this proposal.

8.

Impact assessment (IA)


Based on the evaluation report referred to in section 1, two principal problem areas were identified:

(1) The overall length and costs (direct and indirect) and the cumbersome nature of the procedures;

The complex nature of this problem area is explained in detail in the IA. As far as regulatory options are concerned, the issuing of multiple-entry visas (MEVs) with a long validity accompanied by certain procedural facilitations was considered the only win-win solution for both sides. It has the potential to lessen the administrative burden on consulates and, at the same time, it is considered a very important facilitation for certain groups of travellers. In practice it would be equivalent to a visa waiver for the period of validity of the MEV, resulting in significant savings and efficiency gains both for visa applicants (in terms of time and cost) and consulates (time). The policy options envisaged in response to this problem area are therefore fairly similar. Only the beneficiaries to be covered and the length of validity of the MEVs to be issued differ, as follows:

Minimum regulatory option: introduction of mandatory procedural facilitations and mandatory issuing of MEVs valid for at least one year and subsequently for three years for frequent travellers (defined as applicants who have previously lawfully used at least three visas (within the previous 12 months prior to the date of the application) that are registered in the Visa Information System (VIS).

Intermediate option: introduction of mandatory procedural facilitations and mandatory issuing of MEVs valid for at least three years and subsequently for five years for regular travellers (defined as applicants who have previously lawfully used at least two visas that are registered in the VIS).

The maximum option identified would extend mandatory procedural facilitations and mandatory issuing of MEVs immediately for five years to the majority of applicants ('VIS registered applicants') by requiring only one lawfully used visa (within the previous twelve months prior to the date of the application) that is registered in the VIS.

The IA showed that these options would all further harmonise the current legal framework and would lead towards a genuinely common visa policy. The potential economic impacts on the Member States of these options occur because the travellers in possession of long(er) validity MEVs with are likely to make more trips to the Schengen area than they otherwise would. The IA estimates that some 500 000 additional trips to the Schengen area with the minimum policy option, some 2 million with the intermediate and some 3 million with the maximum policy option. The additional trips to the Schengen area obviously generate additional income: some. EUR 300 million (some 7 600 supported full time equivalent /FTE/ jobs) in case of the minimum option; more than EUR 1 billion (ca. 30 000 supported FTE job) with the intermediate option and some EUR 2 billion (50 000 supported FTE jobs) with the maximum option. The IA also showed that the very high potential economic impact of the maximum option is associated with a higher security risk.

None of these options would involve considerable additional costs. In fact, one of the driving forces behind the policy options is to produce savings for both the Member States/consulates and visa applicants. These options progressively lead to cost savings on the applicants' side, mainly resulting from the increasing number of long-validity MEVs issued. From the applicants' point of view, the maximum option is obviously the most efficient, and the minimum option is the least efficient. The declining number of visa applications under the MEV-system, is expected to reduce Member States' visa revenues. However, the issuing of MEVs also reduces costs, as fewer visa applications need to be processed: the economic benefits considerably exceed the estimated costs in all options.

While it was clear that the maximum option had a very high potential economic impact, it is associated with a potentially higher security risk, too. To mitigate this risk, the approach proposed is to issue longer-validity MEVs gradually to VIS registered regular travellers (first for three years, then on the basis of lawful use of that visa, for five years). The impacts of this approach fall between the intermediate and the maximum option identified in the IA, probably closer to the impacts of the maximum option as far as the economic impacts are concerned.

(2) insufficient geographical coverage in visa processing.

The minimum policy option assessed for this problem area was to repeal Article 41 of the Visa Code (co-location, Common Application Centres (CAC)) and to introduce a general notion/concept of Schengen Visa Centre which would provide a more realistic, more flexible definition with regard to certain forms of consular cooperation. The intermediate option in addition to the Schengen Visa Centres was introducing the concept of mandatory representation according to which, if the Member State competent to process the visa application is neither present nor represented (under such an arrangement) in a given third country any other Member State present in that country would be obliged to process visa applications on their behalf. Finally, as a maximum option, in order to ensure adequate visa collecting/processing coverage, Commission implementing decisions could lay down what the Schengen visa collecting network in third countries should look like in terms of representation arrangements, cooperation with external service providers and pooling of resources by other means.

The IA noted that the maximum policy option could have the most positive impacts in terms of rationalising the visa collecting/processing presence and could offer important advantages for visa applicants and significant efficiency gains for consulates. However its feasibility appears low. Based on the impact assessment, the intermediate option was preferred. The IA points out that mandatory representation would secure consular coverage in any third country where there is at least one consulate present to process visa applications. This could have a positive impact on some 100 000 applicants who would be able to lodge the application in their country of residence instead of travelling to a country where the competent Member State is present or represented.

The economic impacts of all the policy options were considered fairly modest. In fact due to the very nature of the problem, the policy options were not aimed at generating economic growth in the first place, but providing a better service for visa applicants and providing a good legal framework for Member States to rationalise their resources. The financial impacts of mandatory representation were considered not to be significant because, in principle, if a high number of visa applications is addressed to a Member State in a given third country that state will, in principle, already have ensured consular presence by being present or represented. Moreover the visa fee, in principle, covers the average cost of processing.

The non-regulatory policy options were considered to have very little positive impact on addressing the problems or achieving the policy objectives, so they were not considered very effective.

The evaluation report suggests, and this proposal deals with a number of other (mostly quite technical) issues. The IA did not cover those issues because the changes envisaged were not considered to have substantial and/or measurable budgetary, social, or economic implications; most of the proposed changes are intended to clarify or adjust/complement certain provisions of the Visa Code without altering their substance.

2.

LEGAL ELEMENTS OF THE PROPOSAL



9.

Summary


The proposed amendments concern the following issues:

The provisions on individual Member States' introduction of airport transit visa requirement for nationals of specific third countries have been revised to ensure transparency and proportionality (Article 3).

To distinguish clearly between different categories of visa applicants while taking into account the full roll out of the VIS, definitions of VIS registered applicants and VIS registered regular travellers have been added (Article 2). This distinction is reflected in all steps of the procedure (Articles 5, 10, 12, 13, 18 and 21). An overview of the various procedural facilitations is set out below:

|| Lodging in person| Collection of fingerprints| Supporting documents| Visa to be issued

First time applicant – not VIS registered| YES| YES| Full list corresponding to all entry conditions| Single entry corresponding to travel purpose. However, a MEV may be issued, if the consulate considers the applicant reliable.

VIS registered applicant (but not a regular traveller)| NO| NO, unless the fingerprints have not been collected within the last 59 months| Full list corresponding to all entry conditions| Single entry or MEV

VIS registered regular traveller| NO| NO| Only proof of travel purpose Presumption (because of visa history of fulfilment of entry conditions regarding migratory and security risk and sufficient means of subsistence.| First application: three year MEV Following applications: five-year MEV

The provisions regarding 'competent Member State' (Article 5) have been simplified to make it easier for applicants to know where to lodge the application and to ensure that they can, in principle, always lodge the application in their country of residence. This implies that in case the competent Member State is neither present nor represented in a given location, the applicant is entitled to apply at one of the consulates present according to criteria set out in the article.

The provisions provide certain procedural facilitations for close relatives of Union citizens so as to contribute to improving their mobility, in particular by facilitating family visits (Articles 8, 13, 14 and 20).

First, the provisions provide for facilitations for family members intending to visit Union citizens residing in the territory of the Member State of which they are nationals and for family members of Union citizens living in a third country and wishing to visit together the Member State of which the EU citizens are nationals. Both categories of situations are outside the scope of Directive 2004/38/EC. The Visa Facilitation Agreements concluded and implemented by the EU with a number of third countries demonstrate the importance of facilitating such visits: the amended Visa Facilitation Agreements with Ukraine and Moldova, as well as the recent Visa Facilitation Agreements with Armenia and Azerbaijan, provide facilitations (e.g. visa fee waiver and the issuing of multiple entry visas (MEVs) with a long validity) for the citizens of the third country concerned visiting close relatives who have the nationality of the Member State of residence. This practice of the Union should be made general in the Visa Code.

Secondly, according to the provisions the same facilitations are granted as a minimum in situations covered by Directive 2004/38/EC. As provided in Article 5 of the Directive, Member States may, where the EU citizen exercises the right to move and reside freely in their territory, require the family member who is a non-EU national to have an entry visa. As confirmed by the Court of Justice, such family members have not only the right to enter the territory of the Member State but also the right to obtain an entry visa for that purpose. According to Article 5, second subparagraph of the Directive, Member States must grant such persons every facility to obtain the necessary visas, which must be issued free of charge as soon as possible and on the basis of an accelerated procedure.

It should be noted that Article 5 cited above essentially contains the same provision as Article 3 of Directive 68/360 i/EEC which was repealed by Directive 2004/38/EC. Article 3 of Directive 68/360/EEC was adopted at a time when the then Community had no competence to legislate on visas. Since the entry into force of the Amsterdam Treaty on 1 May 1999, the Community has had a competence to legislate on visas. This competence, currently enshrined in Article 77 of the TFEU, was used for the adoption of the Visa Code. It is desirable to render more precise the facilitations which Directive 2004/38/EC refers to, and the appropriate place to do so is the Visa Code, where detailed rules on conditions and procedures for the issuing of visas are established. While respecting the freedom of Member States to grant further facilitations, the facilitations proposed for certain close relatives of Union citizens who have not made use of their right to move and reside freely within the Union should apply, as a minimum, in situations which fall within the scope of Directive 2004/38/EC. Those facilitations are then a common implementation in the Visa Code and for the Member States bound by it, of the obligation contained in Article 5, second subparagraph of Directive 2004/38/EC.

The provisions on visa fee waivers have become mandatory rather than optional to ensure equal treatment of applicants (Article 14). Certain categories eligible to visa fee waivers have been enlarged, e.g. minors up to 18 years, or added (close relatives of Union citizens not exercising their right to free movement).

General procedural facilitations:

– The principle of all applicants having to lodge the application in person has been abolished (cf. Commission staff working paper, point 2.1.1.1 (paragraph (7)).Generally, applicants will only be required to appear in person at the consulate or the external service provider for the collection of fingerprints to be stored in the Visa Information System (Article 9).

– The maximum deadline for lodging an application has been increased to allow travellers to plan ahead and avoid peak seasons; likewise a minimum deadline for lodging an application has been set to allow Member States time to proper assessment of applications and organisation of work (Article 8).

– The general visa application form (Annex I) has been simplified and a reference has been made to the use of electronic filling in of the application form (Article 10).

– The list of supporting documents in Annex II is no longer a 'non-exhaustive list' and a distinction has been made between unknown applicants and VIS registered regular travellers as regards the supporting documents to be submitted (Article 13). The provisions regarding the preparatory work on drawing up lists adapted to local circumstances in local Schengen cooperation have been reinforced in Article 13.

– The unknown visa applicant (i.e. someone who has not applied for a visa before) should prove that he fulfils the visa issuing conditions.

– In this context, attention is drawn to the recent Koushkaki judgement according to which Articles 23, 32 i and 35 (Articles 20, 29 i and 32 of the recast Visa Code) 'must be interpreted as meaning that the competent authorities of a Member State cannot refuse, following the examination of an application for a uniform visa, to issue such a visa to an applicant unless one of the grounds for refusal of a visa listed in those provisions can be applied to that applicant. Those authorities have a wide discretion in the examination of that application so far as concerns the conditions for the application of those provisions and the assessment of the relevant facts, with a view to ascertaining whether one of those grounds for refusal can be applied to the applicant.'

– The European Court of Justice also ruled that the provisions of Article 32 i (now Article 29(1)) of the Visa Code, read in conjunction with Article 21 i (now Article 18(1)), "must be interpreted as meaning that the obligation on the competent authorities of a Member State to issue a uniform visa is subject to the condition that there is no reasonable doubt that the applicant intends to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa applied for, in the light of the general situation in the applicant's country of residence and his individual characteristics, determined in the light of information provided by the applicant."

– It should be presumed that VIS registered regular travellers fulfil the entry conditions regarding the risk of irregular immigration and need to possess sufficient means of subsistence. However, this presumption should be reversible in individual cases.

– The proposal establishes that the authorities of the Member States can rebut the presumption of fulfilment of entry conditions in an individual case and it establishes on which basis this can occur (Article 18(9)).

– General reduction of the deadlines for taking a decision on a visa application (Article 20) in the light of the shortening of the response time in the prior consultation procedure (Article 19). Short deadlines are introduced for the examination of applications from family members of Union citizens exercising their right to free movement and from close relatives of Union citizens not exercising their right to free movement.

– A MEV may be issued with a validity going beyond the validity of the travel document (Article 11(a)).

– The provisions on travel medical insurance (TMI) should be deleted because the actual added value of the TMI measure has never been established (cf. Commission staff working paper, point 2.1.1.2 (14)).

– The standard form for notifying and motivating refusal, annulment or revocation of a visa has been be revised to include a specific ground for refusal of an airport transit visa and to ensure that the person concerned is properly informed about appeal procedures.

– Provisions derogating from the general provisions on the exceptional issuing of visas at the external border have been introduced: Member States will in view of promoting short term tourism be allowed to issue visas at the external borders under a temporary scheme and upon notification and publication of the organisational modalities of the scheme (Article 33).

– Flexible rules allowing Member States to optimise use of resources, increase consular coverage and develop cooperation among Member States have been added (Article 38).

– Member States' use of external service provider is no longer to be the last resort solution.

– Member States are not obliged to maintain the possibility of 'direct access' for lodging applications at the consulate in places where an external service provider has been mandated to collect visa applications (deletion of previous Article 17(5)). However, family members of Union citizens exercising their right to free movement and close relatives of Union citizens not exercising their right to free movement as well as applicants who can justify a case of emergency should be given an immediate appointment.

– Member States should annually report to the Commission on the cooperation with external service providers, including the monitoring of the service providers.

– Streamlining of the provisions regarding representation arrangements (Article 39) (cf. Commission staff working paper, points 2.1.1.5 (paragraph (20)) and 2.1.4 (paragraph 41)).

– As explained in the evaluation report (point 3.2) the lack of sufficiently detailed statistical data hinders the assessment of the implementation of certain provisions. Therefore, Annex VII is amended to provide for the collection of all relevant data in a sufficiently disaggregated form allow for proper assessment. All data concerned can be retrieved (by Member States) from the VIS, except for information on the number of visas issued free of charge, but given that that is linked to the general treasury of the Member State, such data should be easily accessible.

– Strengthening of the legal framework regarding information to the public (Article 45):

- A common Schengen visa internet website is to be created by the Commission

- A template for the information to be given to visa applicants is to be developed by the Commission

Technical amendments:

– Deletion of the reference to the specific travel purpose 'transit' (Article 1 i mainly) given that short stay visas are not purpose bound. The reference has only been maintained where it referred to as a specific travel purpose, e.g. in Annex II to the Visa Code, listing the supporting documents to be submitted according to purpose of travel

– Establishing harmonised rules on the handling of situations of loss of identity document and valid visa (Article 7).

– Precise deadlines for Member States' various notifications (15 days): on representation arrangements, introduction of prior consultation and ex-post information.

– In accordance with Article 290 of the TFEU, the power to amend non-essential elements of Regulation is delegated to the Commission in respect of the list of third countries whose nationals are required to hold an airport transit visa when passing through the international transit areas of airports situated on the territory of the Member States (Annex III) and the list of residence permits entitling the holder to transit through the airports of Member States without being required to hold an airport transit visa (Annex IV).

– In accordance with Article 291 of the TFEU, the Commission should be empowered to adopt implementing acts establishing the list of supporting documents to be to be used in each location to take account of local circumstances, details for filling in and affixing of the visa stickers and the rules for issuing visas to seafarers at the external borders. Therefore, the previous annexes VII, VIII and IX should be deleted.

10.

Legal basis


Article 77(2)(a) of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.

This proposal recasts Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) which was based on the equivalent provisions of the Treaty establishing the European Community, i.e. Article 62(2)(a) and (b)(ii).

11.

Subsidiarity principle


Article 77(2)(a) of the TFEU empowers the Union to develop measures concerning the common policy on visas and other short stay residence permits.

The current proposal is within the limits set by this provision. The objective of this proposal is to further develop and improve the measures of the Visa Code concerning the conditions and procedures for issuing visas for intended stays in the territory of Member States not exceeding 90 days in any 180 days period. It cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States acting alone, because an amendment to an existing Union Act (the Visa Code) can only be achieved by the Union.

12.

Proportionality principle


Article 5 of the TEU states that the content and form of Union action must not exceed what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaties. The form chosen for this action must enable the proposal to achieve its objective and be implemented as effectively as possible.

The establishment of the Visa Code in 2009 took the form of a Regulation in order to ensure that it would be applied in the same way in all the Member States that apply the Schengen acquis. The proposed initiative constitutes an amendment to an existing regulation and must therefore take the form of a regulation. As to the content, this initiative is limited to improvements of the existing regulation and based on the policy objectives to which one new objective was added: economic growth. The proposal therefore complies with the proportionality principle.

13.

Choice of instrument


This proposal recasts Regulation No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code). Therefore only a Regulation can be chosen as a legal instrument.

3.

BUDGETARY IMPLICATIONS



The proposed amendment has no implications for the EU budget.

14.

5. ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS


Consequences of the various protocols annexed to the Treaties and of the association agreements concluded with third countries

The legal basis for this proposal is to be found in Title V of Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, with the result that the system of ‘variable geometry’, provided for in the protocols on the position of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark and the Schengen protocol applies. The proposal builds on the Schengen acquis. The consequences for the various protocols therefore have to be considered with regard to Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom; Iceland and Norway; and Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Likewise, the consequences for the various Acts of Accessions must be considered. The detailed situation of each of these states concerned is described in recitals 49-57 of this proposal. The system of variable geometry of this proposal is identical to the one that applies to the original Visa Code, with the addition of a reference to the 2011 Act of Accession regarding Croatia.

Link with the simultaneous proposal for a Regulation establishing a touring visa

Possible amendments to this proposal during the legislative process will have an impact on the proposal for a Regulation establishing a touring visa, so particular attention should be paid to ensuring the necessary synergies between these two proposals during the negotiation process. If in the course of these negotiations an adoption within a similar timeframe appears within reach, the Commission intends to merge the two proposals into one single recast proposal. In case the legislators reach agreement on the present proposal before there is prospect of imminent agreement on the proposal for a Regulation establishing the touring visa, the provisions in this proposal relating to the envisaged touring visa (Articles 3, 12, 18(6)) should not be maintained for adoption but be inserted later by an amendment to the Visa Code when agreement on the touring visa proposal has eventually been reached.

15.

Succinct overview of the proposed amendments


Article 1 – Amendments to the Visa Code

Article 1 – Subject matter and scope

– Horizontal change: throughout the text the reference to 'transit' as a travel purpose has been deleted.

16.

Article 2 - Definitions


– Paragraph 6 is added to refer to the definition of touring visa in the relevant Regulation.

– Paragraph 7 is added to provide a definition of close relatives (of citizens of the Union).

– Paragraph 8 is added to provide a definition of VIS registered applicant to ensure that full benefit is drawn of the Visa Information System.

– Paragraph 9 is added to provide a definition of VIS registered regular traveller to ensure that full benefit is drawn of the Visa Information System and account is taken of the applicant's visa history.

– Paragraph 12 is added to provide a definition of valid in the sense of not expired as opposed to false, counterfeit or forged.

– Paragraph 16: a definition of seafarer is added to ensure that all staff working on ships benefit from the various procedural facilitations.

Article 3 – Third country nationals required to hold an airport transit visa

– Paragraph 4: the provisions on the introduction by individual Member States of an airport transit visa requirement for nationals of specific third countries have been revised to be covered by the appropriate institutional legal framework.

Article 5 – Member State competent for examining and deciding on an application

– Paragraph 1 (b) is amended to maintain only one objective criterion, i.e. length of stay, for determining the Member State competent for examining an application when the envisaged trip covers more than one destination. Additionally, provisions have been added to cover situations where the traveller is to carry out several trips to different Member States within a short timeframe, i.e. two months.

– Paragraph 2 is amended to overcome situations where the 'competent' Member State is neither present nor represented in the third country where the applicant legally resides. The provisions cover all possible situations and offer solutions expressing the spirit of cooperation and confidence on which the Schengen cooperation is based.

17.

Article 7 - Competence to issue visas to third-country nationals legally present within the territory of a Member State


– Paragraph 1 is amended as a consequence of the amendment of Article 5.

– Paragraphs 2 and 3 are inserted to create a harmonised legal framework for situations where a third country national loses his/her travel document, or this document is stolen, while staying in the territory of the Member States.

Article 8 – Practical modalities for lodging an application

– Paragraph 1 establishes general maximum and minimum deadlines for lodging an application.

– Paragraph 3 is added to provide facilitation in certain situations involving relatives of Union citizens where an immediate appointment should be given.

– Paragraph 4 is amended to become mandatory ('shall') rather than optional ('may'), meaning that urgency cases shall always be treated immediately.

– Paragraph 5 is amended to clarify the rules on who may lodge the application on behalf of the applicant and a reference has been made to professional, cultural,sports or education association or institution as distinct from commercial intermediaries.

– Paragraph 6 has been moved from the previous Article 40 and amended to cover only the provision on applicants having only to appear in person at one location to lodge an application.

18.

Article 9 - General rules for lodging an application


– Paragraph 1 has been replaced by a new text to take account of the abolition of the general principle of all applicants having to lodge the application in person (cf. Commission staff working paper, point 2.1.1.1 (paragraph (7)).

– Paragraph 2 is amended as a consequence of the amendment of paragraph 1.

Article 10 – Application form

– Paragraph 1 is amended to add a reference to the possibility of filling in the application form electronically.

– Paragraph 2 is inserted to ensure that the electronic version of the application form corresponds precisely to the application form set out in Annex I

– Paragraph 4 has been simplified to ensure that the application form is always, as a minimum, available in the official language of the Member State, for which the visa is requested, and the host state.

Article 11 – Travel document

– Point (a) is amended with a cross reference to the new provision in Article 21 , see below.

– Point (b) is amended to ensure that one blank double page be available in the applicant's travel document so that the visa sticker and subsequent entry-exit stamps are placed next to each other. This will facilitate border checks; cf. Commission staff working paper, point 2.1.1.2 (paragraph (11)).

Article 12 – Biometric identifiers

– Paragraphs 2 and 4 are amended as a consequence of the amendment of Article 9 (1)).

– Paragraph 3 is amended to take account of the proposal on the touring visa.

Article 13 – Supporting documents

– Paragraph 2 is inserted to take account of the procedural facilitations to be granted to VIS registered regular travellers, meaning that this category of applicants only have to present proof of travel purpose.

– Paragraph 3 is inserted to grant or clarify facilitations for relatives of Union citizens in certain situations.

– Paragraph 4 is amended to establish that the harmonised list of supporting documents in Annex II is exhaustive.

– Paragraph 6 is inserted to ensure that applicants can submit facsimile or copies of original supporting documents. Applicants should subsequently submit the original documents, except for specific cases where the original document can only be requested in the case of doubt about the authenticity of the documents.

– In paragraph 7(a), a reference to private accommodation has been added.

– Paragraph 10 has been added to take account of the provisions on implementing measures.

Article 14 – Visa fee

– Point (a) of paragraph 3 enlarges the visa fee waiver to cover minors up to the age of 18 years (previously the age of six), thus doing away with the visa fee reduction for 6-12 year olds and the optional fee waiver for the same age group.

– Point (c) of paragraph 3 is amended to make a clear reference to the category of persons to be covered.

– Point (d) of paragraph 3 renders the fee waiver for holders of diplomatic and service passports mandatory

– Point (e) of paragraph 3 renders the fee waiver for participants aged 25 years or less in seminars, conferences, sports, cultural or educational events, organised by non-profit organisations mandatory, thus doing away with optional fee waiver for this group and the mandatory fee waiver for representatives aged 25 years or less in seminars, conferences, sports, cultural or educational events, organised by non-profit organisations.

– Points (f) and (g) are inserted to grant or clarify visa fee waivers in certain situations involving relatives of Union citizens.

See also Commission staff working document, point 2.1.1.3 (paragraph (15)).

Article 15 – Service fee

– In paragraph 1, the reference to an 'additional' service fee has been deleted

– Paragraph 3 is amended as a consequence of the amendment of Article 14.

Article 18 – Verification of entry conditions and risk assessment

– Paragraph 2 is inserted to take account of the insertion of Article 2 and the insertion of Article 13(1)(e).

– Paragraph 3 is inserted to clarify that the competent authorities of the Member State are responsible for justifying the reversion of the presumption of fulfilment of entry conditions in individual cases and on which grounds such a reversion can be based.

– Paragraph 6 is amended to take account of the proposal on a touring visa and the reference to 'issued by another Member State' is deleted which was misleading.

– Paragraph 10 is amended and to allow for Member States to use modern means of communication to carry out an interview with the applicant, rather than requiring him to come to the consulate in person.

Article 19 – Prior consultation

– Paragraph 2 is amended to provide that Member States reply to the consultation requests within five calendar days rather than seven.

– Paragraph 3 provides that Member States notify requests for prior consultation at the latest 15 calendar days before the introduction of the measure to allow for timely information of applicants and for other Member States to prepare at technical level.

– Paragraph 5 is deleted because it has become obsolete

Article 20 – Decision on the application

– Paragraph 1 provides that the decision making time be reduced to maximum 10 calendar days. This is both a consequence of the amendment of Article 19 and of the findings in the evaluation of the implementation of the Visa Code, cf. Commission staff working document, point 2.1.1.6 (paragraph (22)).

– Paragraph 2 is amended to shorten the maximum period for the decision making time to 20 days and the last sentence is deleted as a consequence of the abolition of the provision allowing a represented Member State to require to be consulted on cases handled in representation.

– Paragraph 3 is inserted to grant and clarify the facilitations to be given in certain situations to close relatives of Union citizens.

– The previous paragraph 3 is deleted because an examination of an application for a short stay visa should not be allowed to take 60 calendar days.

– Paragraph 4, point (d) is deleted as a consequence of the abolition of the provision allowing a represented Member State to be consulted; this abolishes the requirement that certain cases be transmitted for handling by that represented Member State rather than the representing Member State.

Article 21 – Issuing of a uniform visa

– Paragraph 2 replaces the previous Article 24 i 4th and 5th subparagraphs.

– Paragraph 2, first paragraph, is amended to remove the reference to 'two-entry' visas which seems superfluous and reference is made to the possibility of issuing a multiple entry visa going beyond the validity of the travel document.

– Paragraphs 3 and 4 are added to take account of the amendment of Article 2 and to introduce objectively defined criteria for granting specific facilitations.

– Paragraph 5 is amended to cover other cases of visa applicants eligible for the issuing of a multiple entry visa.

Article 24 – Filling in of the visa sticker

– Paragraph 2 is inserted to take account of Article 51.

– Paragraph 3 is amended to strengthen the provisions on the national comments on the visa sticker, cf. Commission staff working document, point 2.1.1.6 (paragraph (27)).

– Paragraph 5 is amended to ensure that only single entry visas may be issued manually.

Article 25 – Invalidation of a completed visa sticker

– Paragraph 2 is amended to take into account the need to create a proper legal basis for a best practice recommended in the Visa Code Handbook.

Article 26 – Affixing a visa sticker

– Paragraph 2 is inserted to take account of the provisions in Article 51.

Article 28 – Informing central authorities of other Member States

– Paragraph 2 is amended to ensure timely information of other Member States, cf. comments made regarding Article 19.

Article 29 – Refusal of a visa

– Point 1 (a) (vii) is deleted as a consequence of the abolition of the requirements on travel medical insurance.

– Paragraph 3 is replaced to add a reference to the need for Member States to provide detailed information on appeal procedures.

– Paragraph 4 is deleted as a consequence of deleting of the provision requiring that certain cases be transmitted for handling by that represented Member State rather than the representing Member State.

Article 31 – Annulment and revocation

– Paragraph 4 is amended to take account of the amendment of Article 13.

Article 32 – Visas exceptionally applied for at the external border

– The title is amended as a consequence of the insertion of Article 33.

– Paragraph 2 is deleted as a consequence of the abolition of the requirements on travel medical insurance.

Article 33 – Visas applied for at the external border under a temporary scheme

– These provisions have been inserted to allow Member States to promote short term tourism, they should be authorised to issue visas at the external border not only on a case-by-case basis depending on the third-country nationals' individual situation, but also on the basis of a temporary scheme. The Article sets out rules on notification and publication of the organisational modalities of a temporary scheme and establishes that the validity the visa issued should be limited to the territory of the issuing Member State.

– Paragraph 6 specifies the requirements on reporting by the Member State concerned.

Article 34 – Visas issued to seafarers at the external borders

– Paragraph 3 is inserted to take account of the provisions in Article 51.

Article 38 – Consular organisation and cooperation

– In paragraph 1 the second sentence has become obsolete.

– Point (b) of paragraph 2 is reworded as a consequence of the repeal of the previous Article 41 and of the abolition of the ranking of outsourcing as last resort.

– Paragraph 4 is replaced by the insertion of Article 8 .

Article 39 – Representation arrangements

– Paragraph 1 corresponds to the previous Article 8 i.

– Paragraph 2 describes the collection and transmission of files and data among Member States in situations where a Member State represents another solely for the collection of applications and biometric identifiers.

– Paragraph 3 is amended to take account of the deletion of the possibility of a represented Member State to require being involved in cases handled under representation.

– Paragraphs 4 and 5 correspond to the previous Article 8 and , respectively.

– Paragraph 6 sets a minimum deadline for the represented Member States to notify to the Commission the conclusion or termination of representation arrangements.

– Paragraph 7 provides that the representing Member States shall at the same time notify to other Member States and the European Union Delegation in the jurisdiction concerned the conclusion or termination of representation arrangements.

– Paragraph 8 corresponds to the previous Article 8.

Article 40 – Recourse to honorary consuls

– In paragraph 1 'also' is deleted.

Article 41 – Cooperation with external service providers

– The previous paragraph 3 is deleted because such harmonisation is not possible in reality as Member States generally draw up global contracts with external service providers.

– Point (e) of paragraph 5 is amended as a consequence of the amendment of Article 9.

– Paragraph 12 is amended to require Member States to report annually on their cooperation and monitoring of external service providers, as provided for in Annex IX.

Article 42 – Encryption and secure transfer of data

– Paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 are amended to take account of the repeal of the previous Article 8.

19.

Article 43 - Member States' cooperation with commercial intermediaries


– Paragraph 1 is amended as a consequence of the deletion of the previous Article 2 i, i.e. the definition of commercial intermediary.

– Paragraph 5, second sub-paragraph, is amended to ensure information to the public about the accredited commercial intermediaries.

Article 45 – Information to be provided to the public

– Point (c) of paragraph 1 is amended to take account of the repeal of the previous Article 41.

– The previous point (e) of paragraph 1 is deleted to take account of the repeal of the previous Article 20.

– Paragraph 3 is inserted to provide that the Commission establishes a harmonised template for the information to be provided under Article 45 i.

– Paragraph 4 is inserted to provide that the Commission establishes a Schengen internet website containing all relevant information relating to the application for a visa.

Article 46 – Local Schengen cooperation

– In paragraph 1, first sentence, and point (a) are amended to provide that within local Schengen cooperation (LSC), harmonised lists of supporting documents are prepared.

– In paragraph 1, point (b) and the last subparagraph are amended as a consequence of the amended Article 14.

– Paragraph 2 is amended as a consequence of the insertion of Article 45.

– Point (a) of paragraph 3 is amended to provide for quarterly compilations of statistics on visas at local level and a reference to the touring visa has been added.

– Point (b) of paragraph 3 is amended as a consequence of the reformulation of the first sentence.

– Paragraph 7 is amended to provide that on the basis of the annual reports drawn up in the various LSC, the Commission draws up one annual report to be transmitted to the European Parliament and the Council.

Articles 48 –49 Exercise of delegation

– These Articles are inserted to take account of the provisions of Article 290 of TFEU on delegated acts.

Article 50 – Instructions on the practical application of the Visa Code

– The Article is amended to take account of the provisions set out in Article 51.

Article 51 – Committee procedure

– This Article is amended to take account of the provisions governing the exercise of the Commission's implementing powers in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 182/2011 i.

Article 52 – Notification

– Point (g) of paragraph 1 is amended as a consequence of the amendment of Article 38.

– Paragraph 2 is amended as a consequence of the insertion of Article 45.

Article 54 – Monitoring and evaluation

– These are the standard provisions regarding monitoring and evaluation of legal instruments.

Article 55 – Entry into force

– This is the standard clause on entry into force and direct applicability. The application of the Regulation is deferred for six months following entry into force except for Article 51, which shall apply three months following the entry into force to allow for the adoption of implementing acts regarding as provided for in Articles 24, 26, 32 and 50.

20.

Annexes


– Annex I is replaced

– Annex V:

- the previous point 7, regarding travel medical insurance is deleted;

- a new point 10 is added to cover cases where an application for an ATV is refused.

κ 810/2009 (adapted)