Moroccans should expect to spend even more on Schengen visa applications in 2020, with fees set to jump from €60 to €80.
Rabat – Moroccans spent more than than $44 million (MAD 424 million) on 662,586 Schengen visa applications in 2018. Nearly $8 million (MAD 77 million) of the total came from applicants whose visas had been denied.
Of the 533,861 Moroccans who received Schengen visas in 2018, most applied for visas to France, followed by Spain, the Netherlands, and Italy.
The French consulates in Casablanca, Fez, and Rabat received the most Moroccan applications in 2018.
The new visa code
Beginning on February 3, 2020, Schengen visa applicants will be subject to the new Schengen visa code. The new rules will include higher visa fees, an extended period for submitting applications, and electronic application options in most countries.
Applicants will need to pay a fee of €80 (MAD 855) per application rather than the current rate of €60 (MAD 641). Applications for children aged seven and older will cost €40 (MAD 427) rather than €35 (MAD 374). Children six years old and younger will remain exempt from visa fees.
With the new regulations, Schengen visa applicants will also be able to file an application six months before their intended trip to the Schengen area as opposed to the current period of three months. The latest that an application can be submitted is two weeks before an applicant’s intended trip.
The new visa code will also require the representative authorities of every Schengen member state to be present in every ‘third country,’ or developing country, with regard to visa admission.
If a Schengen member state does not have representatives in a specific developing country, the Schengen member must outsource visa admission to another Schengen country or visa processing service center. Consequently, visa applicants will no longer need to travel to another country just to file an application.
Additionally, frequent travelers who have already received visas can benefit from valid visas for a longer period of time.
The new code will also introduce a mechanism to assess whether visa fees should change or remain the same every three years. Additionally, the EU will begin penalizing countries that refuse to cooperate on the readmission of irregular migrants with visa restrictions.
The European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, adopted the new regulations in June 2019. The updated visa code aims to strengthen the common visa while addressing migration and security concerns.
What is the Schengen visa?
The Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows its holder to travel to 26 European countries known as Schengen states. 22 of these countries are in the EU.
The 26 member states make up the Schengen Area, named for the 1985 Schengen Agreement that abolished all passport and border control at the member states’ mutual borders.
The Schengen Area amasses more than four million square kilometers and operates as a single jurisdiction for international travelers.
Travelers from 104 countries and entities need to obtain a visa to enter the Schengen Area for up to three months.
The Schengen visa is one of the world’s most sought-after visas. The consulates of the 26 Schengen member states received more than 16 million applications in 2018.