EU Commission criticizes Schengen countries' visa delays, lack of information

The EU Commission on Tuesday criticized countries that are members of the Schengen area for overly long visa procedures, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency. 

"The increased rise in global mobility resulted in a sharp increase of Schengen visa applications, leading to significant delays in granting appointments and in processing visa applications, as revealed by Schengen evaluations in 2022," the 2023 State of Schengen Report said.

It added that member states "often provide inadequate and inaccurate information to visa applicants regarding the visa application process, which impacts the quality of the assessment of migration and security risks."

The commission also said that in some cases, applicants are paying up to €500 ($552) "to agencies or individuals just to secure an appointment."

It warned that "the consequences of these deficiencies are manifold, ranging from reputational damage for the Member States and the EU as a whole and economic loss, especially in the tourism sector to disruption of family contacts and business relations."

The report recommended member states "deploy sufficient appropriate staff in consulates to carry out the tasks relating to the examination of applications, in order to ensure the quality of service to the public."

It said those states "can use EU funding under their national programmes under the 2021-2027 Border Management and Visa Instrument (BMVI) of the Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF)," which allocates €88 million ($95.6 million).

"Issuing more multiple-entry visas with long validity would also lead to efficiency gains," the commission added.

Last year, with the end of most COVID-era restrictions, Turkish officials said many members of the public seeking visas to EU states were facing months-long waits, overly burdensome procedures, and sky-high fees just to apply, whether they got a visa or not.

The Schengen area is a group of nearly all EU states that have abolished visa controls within their shared borders.


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