Long-stay visa holders to gain freer movement in Schengen area after European Parliament vote - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Long-stay visa holders to gain freer movement in Schengen area after European Parliament vote

Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Good news for non-European nationals wanting to travel around Europe while holding a long-term visa in one member state – you will be allowed to travel to most other member states for three months in any six-month period under the same conditions as the holder of a residence permit, under a new regulation approved today by the European Parliament.

Passport Stamps (Photo: balkantravellers.com)As it currently stands, long-stay visa holders - for example international students, family members of third-country nationals, and even some EU citizens - are not allowed to travel to other Member States during their stay, nor pass through the other states when returning to their country of origin.

So, say you are Chinese student studying at a university in France, as it stands you cannot travel into Germany, not even for the weekend, nor Italy, Spain or Switzerland, not even to enter any of these in order to fly back home at the end of your study period.

But the regulation, which MEPs in Strasbourg today approved with 562 votes in favour, 29 against and 51 abstentions, is set to change all of this when it enters into force in less than a month’s time (5th April 2010).

The increased freedom of movement should not pose any extra security risk, thanks to a system of controls and alerts that already exist as part of the Schengen Convention, but will in any case not apply to the UK, Ireland or Denmark – because they are not part of this area.

The fact that a student who is granted a visa to attend a course in Belgium cannot travel to a specialised library in the Netherlands to obtain information for the purposes of writing his thesis or to Barcelona for a weekend visit is simply unacceptable”, argued Carlos Coelho (EPP, PT) the author of the report by the Civil Liberties Committee. "This is an example of how absurd situations can arise.

Members of the Schengen Area (click to enlarge)Under the new legislation, a long-stay visa (for stays exceeding three months) will - as regards the Schengen area (see left) - have the same effect as a residence permit.

A non-EU national holding a "long-stay D visa" issued by one member state could travel to any other member states for a maximum period of three months in any half year, under the same conditions as the holder of a residence permit.

To reflect this increased freedom, long-stay visas will become valid for no more than one year. If a third-country national has been awarded a visa for a period greater than 12 months, the long-stay visa will need to be replaced before it expires by a residence permit allowing permanent free-travel.

The 25-member Schengen area includes most EU countries, plus Switzerland, Norway and Ireland. Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus are excluded but are expected to join in the future, while Britain and Ireland enjoy a permanent exclusion from the area. Denmark is also out, but has the choice of taking part in Schengen rules on a case-by-case basis.

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9 Comment(s):
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Thanks for posting! This is really great news! The discriminatory Schengen regulations have been improved in the end, enabling people from non-EU countries with D-visas to travel freely over the EU.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Andrew said...
As Cyprus are currently not part of the Schengen area this will not immediately apply to them. However as I wrote in the final paragraph, they are expected to join this soon as so then yes this would apply there too as far as I am aware. Hope this helps!

Anonymous Swaprava said...
This is good news, I was wondering if I can travel to Germany with my French Visa. It seems now, all I need is a residence permit.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
so if UK is not into Schengen Convention that means UK permanent resident can not travel for a holiday to visit any other member states? ?

I'm UK permanent residence and ive been living here for 4 and half years- non EU citizen

Blogger Andrew said...
It depends on your status - if you now have a UK passport then yes you can travel freely within the EEC. I'm not sure whether other visas would allow free travel - it normally says on it somewhere...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Sir i want to know that The Non-EU Citizen holder of Bulgarian Student Visa will enter in Schengen Countries on behalf of Bulgarian D visa.
waiting for your reply....

Anonymous Anonymous said...
i have a 6 months uk visa and i want to spend 4 days in paris on my way to uk. Do i need a schengen visa for this brief atay in Paris

Blogger Andrew said...
My understanding is yes you would need a visa for that brief stay in Paris because as I have mentioned before the UK is not part of the Schengen Area. Could I please reiterate that the best advice regarding your visa status is from the embassies themselves since they should know more about this than me.

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