Muscat: The new Schengen Visa Code, which comes into effect from February 2, will allow Omani nationals to apply up to six months in advance of their trip, instead of three as it is now.
Travellers from Oman will be subject to several changes in terms of visa application procedures, rules, and benefits, which will offer a harmonized approach to the issuing of multiple-entry visas with lengthier validity to regular travellers with a positive visa history.
As per the details provided to the Observer by SchengenVisaInfo.com https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/ “The member states that are not represented in Oman in terms of visa admission, are now obliged to cooperate with external service providers, to facilitate visa application for travellers.”
The external service providers are allowed to charge a service fee, which cannot be higher than the visa fee. This means Omanis applying at an external visa service provider may have to pay up to 160 euros per visa application if the external service providers set the maximum service fee permitted, which is 80 euros.
From February 2020, Omani citizens will need to pay a fee of 80 euros instead of 60 euros as they did so far when applying for a Schengen Visa from Oman.
Children will have to pay 40 euros instead of 35 euros, as it is currently.
Due to the implementation of the Updated Schengen Visa Code, adopted by the EU Council in June 2019, all representative missions of the Schengen Countries located abroad are obliged to apply the new rules, including the ones in Oman.
Since Regulation (EU) 2019/1155 of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 20, 2019 amending Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) is binding in its entirety and is directly applicable in all EU Member States under the Treaties, all Schengen countries will apply it from February 2, according to official statements.
“A visa fee of 120 euros or 160 euros will apply to non-cooperative third-countries, in cases when the EU Commission considers that action is needed to improve the level of cooperation of the third country concerned and the Union’s overall relations with that third country,” according to SchengenVisaInfo.com, adding that this provision shall not apply to children under 12 years old. The mechanism may also shorten visa validity, and introduce prolonged visa processing periods.
It may be noted that in 2018, Schengen embassies and consulates in Oman processed 38,944 visa applications, 1,909 of which were rejected at a rejection rate of 4.9 per cent. Germany was the top favourite country for visa submission, as 10,476 of the applications submitted in Oman were for Schengen visas to Germany, followed by the Netherlands with 9,322 and Spain with 8,419 applications.
In terms of expenditures, in 2018, Omani citizens spent 2,336,640 euros on visa applications to Europe, 114,540 euros of which money was spent by applicants who had their visas rejected.