Diritto amministrativo europeo

Revising EU visa policy


Questa settimana condividiamo un articolo del Prof. Steve Peers dell’Università di Essex sul processo di riforma del Codice dei visti, contenente le procedure e le condizioni per il rilascio del visto di transito o per soggiorni di breve durata nel territorio dei paesi dell’UE.


Revising EU visa policy

by Professor Steve Peers


Back in 2014, the Commission proposed a revamp of EU visa policy (concerning short-term visit visas), in the form of a proposal to revise the EU’s visa code. This proposal ultimately failed, because the EU Parliament and Council could not agree on whether it should include “safe passage” visas for those needing protection or not. Now the Commission is trying again, focussing this time on security concerns, rather than economic growth.


The rules for issuing short-term visas are set out in the Visa Code, adopted in 2009. The CJEU has clarified some key points of the Code, ruling that: in effect it creates a right to a visa if the conditions are satisfied, although Member States have flexibility over how to apply those conditions (Koushkaki, discussed here); there must be a possibility of judicial review as part of the appeal process (El-Hassani); and “safe passage” visas are not covered by the Code (X and X).

The Code concerns “Schengen visas”, ie visas which allow travel across the entire Schengen area. As such it applies to the EU countries fully applying the Schengen rules (all Member States except the UK, Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria) as well as the non-EU Schengen associates: Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The list of non-EU countries whose citizens do (or do not) need a visa to visit the Schengen area is set out in a separate visa list Regulation (the plans for visa waivers for Turkey and Kosovo are on hold). EU policy is to waive visa requirements for nearby countries, subject to a (loosely-enforced) requirement for reciprocity, so it is likely that UK citizens will not need a visa to visit the EU after Brexit. However, EU legislation to set up a “travel authorisation” system, about to be adopted (see discussion here), will apply to all non-EU countries with a visa waiver but without a free movement agreement with the EU. As things stand, this law will apply to the UK, unless some special exemption is requested and agreed. A travel authorisation is similar to a visa in that it requires a prior authorisation to travel, but will cost less and be valid for much longer.

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