21.09.2010 / 09:45
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) took effect on 5 April 2010.
The Visa Code establishes a new legal framework for the application of the common visa policy as regards short-stay Schengen visas in the countries that are part of the Schengen area. The Visa Code became part of the Czech legislation on its effective date (5 April 2010). It terminated the previous rules on short-stay visas set out in Act No. 326/1999 concerning the residence of aliens in the territory of the Czech Republic as amended.
The operational instructions on the practical application of the Visa Code are set out in the Handbook for the processing of visa applications and the modification of issued visas. The annexes to the Handbook and Handbook2 are published on the website of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic in accordance with the requirements of the European Commission. The processing and publication of information on the Visa Code and Handbook is the responsibility of the Commission.
The basic rules of the Schengen visa policy remain in place:
· Competence to examine and decide on an application (Article 5)
· Practical modalities for lodging an application (Article 9)
· Personal appearance of applicants (Article 10)
· Supporting documents (Articles 14 and 15) – documents indicating the purpose of the journey, proof of sufficient means, travel medical insurance
· The general visa fee remains EUR 60; however, there are new exemptions: children from the age of six years and below the age of 12 years pay only EUR 35 or may benefit from a visa fee waiver.
The principal changes introduced by the Visa Code include:
· Transit visas (“B” visas) are merged with short stay visas (“C” visas). The new “C “visa thus covers both transit and stay (Article 2 2.(a)). Airport transit visas (“A” visas) remain in place (Article 3).
· “D+C” visas are abolished. The new “D” visa authorizes the holder to stay in the territory of the Member States for a period not exceeding three months in any six-month period.
· The rules on consular territorial competence are modified (Article 6)
· A uniform application form is introduced (Article 11)
· The admissibility rule is introduced (Article 19)
A fundamental change is the gradual introduction of the fingerprint requirement.
The Visa Code sets out the rules for:
· Representation arrangements between the Member States as regards the issuing of Schengen visas (Article 8)
· Cooperation with external service providers (Article 43).