VISAS ISSUED AT THE EXTERNAL BORDERS
Visas applied for at the external border
- In exceptional cases, visas may be issued at border crossing points if the following conditions are satisfied:
(a) the applicant fulfils the conditions laid down in Article 5(1)(a), (c), (d) and (e) of the Schengen Borders Code;
(b) the applicant has not been in a position to apply for a visa in advance and submits, if required, supporting documents substantiating unforeseeable and imperative reasons for entry; and
(c) the applicant’s return to his country of origin or residence or transit through States other than Member States fully implementing the Schengen acquis is assessed as certain.
- Where a visa is applied for at the external border, the requirement that the applicant be in possession of travel medical insurance may be waived when such travel medical insurance is not available at that border crossing point or for humanitarian reasons.
- A visa issued at the external border shall be a uniform visa, entitling the holder to stay for a maximum duration of 15 days, depending on the purpose and conditions of the intended stay. In the case of transit, the length of the authorised stay shall correspond to the time necessary for the purpose of the transit.
- Where the conditions laid down in Article 5(1)(a), (c), (d) and (e) of the Schengen Borders Code are not fulfilled, the authorities responsible for issuing the visa at the border may issue a visa with limited territorial validity, in accordance with Article 25(1)(a) of this Regulation, for the territory of the issuing Member State only.
- A third-country national falling within a category of persons for whom prior consultation is required in accordance with Article 22 shall, in principle, not be issued a visa at the external border.
However, a visa with limited territorial validity for the territory of the issuing Member State may be issued at the external border for such persons in exceptional cases, in accordance with Article 25(1)(a).
- In addition to the reasons for refusing a visa as provided for in Article 32(1) a visa shall be refused at the border crossing point if the conditions referred to in paragraph 1(b) of this Article are not met.
- The provisions on justification and notification of refusals and the right of appeal set out in Article 32(3) and Annex VI shall apply.
Visas issued to seafarers in transit at the external border
- A seafarer who is required to be in possession of a visa when crossing the external borders of the Member States may be issued with a visa for the purpose of transit at the border where:
(a) he fulfils the conditions set out in Article 35(1); and
(b) he is crossing the border in question in order to embark on, re-embark on or disembark from a ship on which he will work or has worked as a seafarer.
- Before issuing a visa at the border to a seafarer in transit, the competent national authorities shall comply with the rules set out in Annex IX, Part 1, and make sure that the necessary information concerning the seafarer in question has been exchanged by means of a duly completed form for seafarers in transit, as set out in Annex IX, Part 2.
- This Article shall apply without prejudice to Article 35(3), (4) and (5).
TITLE IV. ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGEMENT AND ORGANISATION
Organisation of visa sections
- Member States shall be responsible for organising the visa sections of their consulates.
In order to prevent any decline in the level of vigilance and to protect staff from being exposed to pressure at local level, rotation schemes for staff dealing directly with applicants shall be set up, where appropriate. Particular attention shall be paid to clear work structures and a distinct allocation/division of responsibilities in relation to the taking of final decisions on applications. Access to consultation of the VIS and the SIS and other confidential information shall be restricted to a limited number of duly authorised staff. Appropriate measures shall be taken to prevent unauthorised access to such databases.
- The storage and handling of visa stickers shall be subject to adequate security measures to avoid fraud or loss. Each consulate shall keep an account of its stock of visa stickers and register how each visa sticker has been used.
- Member States’ consulates shall keep archives of applications. Each individual file shall contain the application form, copies of relevant supporting documents, a record of checks made and the reference number of the visa issued, in order for staff to be able to reconstruct, if need be, the background for the decision taken on the application.
Individual application files shall be kept for a minimum of two years from the date of the decision on the application as referred to in Article 23(1).
Resources for examining applications and monitoring of consulates
- Member States shall deploy appropriate staff in sufficient numbers to carry out the tasks relating to the examining of applications, in such a way as to ensure reasonable and harmonised quality of service to the public.
- Premises shall meet appropriate functional requirements of adequacy and allow for appropriate security measures.
- Member States’ central authorities shall provide adequate training to both expatriate staff and locally employed staff and shall be responsible for providing them with complete, precise and up-to-date information on the relevant Community and national law.
- Member States’ central authorities shall ensure frequent and adequate monitoring of the conduct of examination of applications and take corrective measures when deviations from the provisions of this Regulation are detected.
Conduct of staff
- Member States’ consulates shall ensure that applicants are received courteously.
- Consular staff shall, in the performance of their duties, fully respect human dignity. Any measures taken shall be proportionate to the objectives pursued by such measures.
- While performing their tasks, consular staff shall not discriminate against persons on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Forms of cooperation
- Each Member State shall be responsible for organising the procedures relating to applications. In principle, applications shall be lodged at a consulate of a Member State.
- Member States shall:
(a) equip their consulates and authorities responsible for issuing visas at the borders with the required material for the collection of biometric identifiers, as well as the offices of their honorary consuls, whenever they make use of them, to collect biometric identifiers in accordance with Article 42; and/or
(b) cooperate with one or more other Member States, within the framework of local Schengen cooperation or by other appropriate contacts, in the form of limited representation, co-location, or a Common Application Centre in accordance with Article 41.
- In particular circumstances or for reasons relating to the local situation, such as where:
(a) the high number of applicants does not allow the collection of applications and of data to be organised in a timely manner and in decent conditions; or
(b) it is not possible to ensure a good territorial coverage of the third country concerned in any other way;
and where the forms of cooperation referred to in paragraph 2(b) prove not to be appropriate for the Member State concerned, a Member State may, as a last resort, cooperate with an external service provider in accordance with Article 43.
- Without prejudice to the right to call the applicant for a personal interview, as provided for in Article 21(8), the selection of a form of organisation shall not lead to the applicant being required to appear in person at more than one location in order to lodge an application.
- Member States shall notify to the Commission how they intend to organise the procedures relating to applications in each consular location.
Cooperation between Member States
- Where “co-location” is chosen, staff of the consulates of one or more Member States shall carry out the procedures relating to applications (including the collection of biometric identifiers) addressed to them at the consulate of another Member State and share the equipment of that Member State. The Member States concerned shall agree on the duration of and conditions for the termination of the co-location as well as the proportion of the visa fee to be received by the Member State whose consulate is being used.
- Where “Common Application Centres” are established, staff of the consulates of two or more Member States shall be pooled in one building in order for applicants to lodge applications (including biometric identifiers). Applicants shall be directed to the Member State competent for examining and deciding on the application. Member States shall agree on the duration of and conditions for the termination of such cooperation as well as the cost-sharing among the participating Member States. One Member State shall be responsible for contracts in relation to logistics and diplomatic relations with the host country.
- In the event of termination of cooperation with other Member States, Member States shall assure the continuity of full service.
Recourse to honorary consuls
- Honorary consuls may also be authorised to perform some or all of the tasks referred to in Article 43(6). Adequate measures shall be taken to ensure security and data protection.
- Where the honorary consul is not a civil servant of a Member State, the performance of those tasks shall comply with the requirements set out in Annex X, except for the provisions in point D(c) of that Annex.
- Where the honorary consul is a civil servant of a Member State, the Member State concerned shall ensure that requirements comparable to those which would apply if the tasks were performed by its consulate are applied.
Cooperation with external service providers
- Member States shall endeavour to cooperate with an external service provider together with one or more Member States, without prejudice to public procurement and competition rules.
- Cooperation with an external service provider shall be based on a legal instrument that shall comply with the requirements set out in Annex X.
- Member States shall, within the framework of local Schengen cooperation, exchange information about the selection of external service providers and the establishment of the terms and conditions of their respective legal instruments.
- The examination of applications, interviews (where appropriate), the decision on applications and the printing and affixing of visa stickers shall be carried out only by the consulate.
- External service providers shall not have access to the VIS under any circumstances. Access to the VIS shall be reserved exclusively to duly authorised staff of consulates.
- An external service provider may be entrusted with the performance of one or more of the following tasks:
(a) providing general information on visa requirements and application forms;
(b) informing the applicant of the required supporting documents, on the basis of a checklist;
(c) collecting data and applications (including collection of biometric identifiers) and transmitting the application to the consulate;
(d) collecting the visa fee;
(e) managing the appointments for appearance in person at the consulate or at the external service provider;
(f) collecting the travel documents, including a refusal notification if applicable, from the consulate and returning them to the applicant.
- When selecting an external service provider, the Member State(s) concerned shall scrutinise the solvency and reliability of the company, including the necessary licences, commercial registration, company statutes, bank contracts, and ensure that there is no conflict of interests.
- The Member State(s) concerned shall ensure that the external service provider selected complies with the terms and conditions assigned to it in the legal instrument referred to in paragraph 2.
- The Member State(s) concerned shall remain responsible for compliance with data protection rules for the processing of data and shall be supervised in accordance with Article 28 of Directive 95/46/EC.
Cooperation with an external service provider shall not limit or exclude any liability arising under the national law of the Member State(s) concerned for breaches of obligations with regard to the personal data of applicants or the performance of one or more of the tasks referred to in paragraph 6. This provision is without prejudice to any action which may be taken directly against the external service provider under the national law of the third country concerned.
- The Member State(s) concerned shall provide training to the external service provider, corresponding to the knowledge needed to offer an appropriate service and sufficient information to applicants.
- The Member State(s) concerned shall closely monitor the implementation of the legal instrument referred to in paragraph 2, including:
(a) the general information on visa requirements and application forms provided by the external service provider to applicants;
(b) all the technical and organisational security measures required to protect personal data against accidental or unlawful destruction or accidental loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure or access, in particular where the cooperation involves the transmission of files and data to the consulate of the Member State(s) concerned, and all other unlawful forms of processing personal data;
(c) the collection and transmission of biometric identifiers;
(d) the measures taken to ensure compliance with data protection provisions.
To this end, the consulate(s) of the Member State(s) concerned shall, on a regular basis, carry out spot checks on the premises of the external service provider.
- In the event of termination of cooperation with an external service provider, Member States shall ensure the continuity of full service.
- Member States shall provide the Commission with a copy of the legal instrument referred to in paragraph 2.
Encryption and secure transfer of data
- In the case of representation arrangements between Member States and cooperation of Member States with an external service provider and recourse to honorary consuls, the represented Member State(s) or the Member State(s) concerned shall ensure that the data are fully encrypted, whether electronically transferred or physically transferred on an electronic storage medium from the authorities of the representing Member State to the authorities of the represented Member State(s) or from the external service provider or from the honorary consul to the authorities of the Member State(s) concerned.
- In third countries which prohibit encryption of data to be electronically transferred from the authorities of the representing Member State to the authorities of the represented Member State(s) or from the external service provider or from the honorary consul to the authorities of the Member State(s) concerned, the represented Members State(s) or the Member State(s) concerned shall not allow the representing Member State or the external service provider or the honorary consul to transfer data electronically.
In such a case, the represented Member State(s) or the Member State(s) concerned shall ensure that the electronic data are transferred physically in fully encrypted form on an electronic storage medium from the authorities of the representing Member State to the authorities of the represented Member State(s) or from the external service provider or from the honorary consul to the authorities of the Member State(s) concerned by a consular officer of a Member State or, where such a transfer would require disproportionate or unreasonable measures to be taken, in another safe and secure way, for example by using established operators experienced in transporting sensitive documents and data in the third country concerned.
- In all cases the level of security for the transfer shall be adapted to the sensitive nature of the data.
- The Member States or the Community shall endeavour to reach agreement with the third countries concerned with the aim of lifting the prohibition against encryption of data to be electronically transferred from the authorities of the representing Member State to the authorities of the represented Member State(s) or from the external service provider or from the honorary consul to the authorities of the Member State(s) concerned.
Member States’ cooperation with commercial intermediaries
- Member States may cooperate with commercial intermediaries for the lodging of applications, except for the collection of biometric identifiers.
- Such cooperation shall be based on the granting of an accreditation by Member States’ relevant authorities. The accreditation shall, in particular, be based on the verification of the following aspects:
(a) the current status of the commercial intermediary: current licence, the commercial register, contracts with banks;
(b) existing contracts with commercial partners based in the Member States offering accommodation and other package tour services;
(c) contracts with transport companies, which must include an outward journey, as well as a guaranteed and fixed return journey.
- Accredited commercial intermediaries shall be monitored regularly by spot checks involving personal or telephone interviews with applicants, verification of trips and accommodation, verification that the travel medical insurance provided is adequate and covers individual travellers, and wherever deemed necessary, verification of the documents relating to group return.
- Within local Schengen cooperation, information shall be exchanged on the performance of the accredited commercial intermediaries concerning irregularities detected and refusal of applications submitted by commercial intermediaries, and on detected forms of travel document fraud and failure to carry out scheduled trips.
- Within local Schengen cooperation, lists shall be exchanged of commercial intermediaries to which accreditation has been given by each consulate and from which accreditation has been withdrawn, together with the reasons for any such withdrawal.
Each consulate shall make sure that the public is informed about the list of accredited commercial intermediaries with which it cooperates.
Compilation of statistics
Member States shall compile annual statistics on visas, in accordance with the table set out in Annex XII. These statistics shall be submitted by 1 March for the preceding calendar year.
Information to the general public
- Member States’ central authorities and consulates shall provide the general public with all relevant information in relation to the application for a visa, in particular:
(a) the criteria, conditions and procedures for applying for a visa;
(b) the means of obtaining an appointment, if applicable;
(c) where the application may be submitted (competent consulate, Common Application Centre or external service provider);
(d) accredited commercial intermediaries;
(e) the fact that the stamp as provided for in Article 20 has no legal implications;
(f) the time limits for examining applications provided for in Article 23(1), (2) and (3);
(g) the third countries whose nationals or specific categories of whose nationals are subject to prior consultation or information;
(h) that negative decisions on applications must be notified to the applicant, that such decisions must state the reasons on which they are based and that applicants whose applications are refused have a right to appeal, with information regarding the procedure to be followed in the event of an appeal, including the competent authority, as well as the time limit for lodging an appeal;
(i) that mere possession of a visa does not confer an automatic right of entry and that the holders of visa are requested to present proof that they fulfil the entry conditions at the external border, as provided for in Article 5 of the Schengen Borders Code.
- The representing and represented Member State shall inform the general public about representation arrangements as referred to in Article 8 before such arrangements enter into force.
TITLE V. LOCAL SCHENGEN COOPERATION
Local Schengen cooperation between Member States’ consulates
- In order to ensure a harmonised application of the common visa policy taking into account, where appropriate, local circumstances, Member States’ consulates and the Commission shall cooperate within each jurisdiction and assess the need to establish in particular:
(a) a harmonised list of supporting documents to be submitted by applicants, taking into account Article 14 and Annex II;
(b) common criteria for examining applications in relation to exemptions from paying the visa fee in accordance with Article 16(5) and matters relating to the translation of the application form in accordance with Article 11(5);
(c) an exhaustive list of travel documents issued by the host country, which shall be updated regularly.
If in relation to one or more of the points (a) to (c), the assessment within local Schengen cooperation confirms the need for a local harmonised approach, measures on such an approach shall be adopted pursuant to the procedure referred to in Article 52(2).
- Within local Schengen cooperation a common information sheet shall be established on uniform visas and visas with limited territorial validity and airport transit visas, namely, the rights that the visa implies and the conditions for applying for it, including, where applicable, the list of supporting documents as referred to in paragraph 1(a).
- The following information shall be exchanged within local Schengen cooperation:
(a) monthly statistics on uniform visas, visas with limited territorial validity, and airport transit visas issued, as well as the number of visas refused;
(b) with regard to the assessment of migratory and/or security risks, information on:
(i) the socioeconomic structure of the host country;
(ii) sources of information at local level, including social security, health insurance, fiscal registers and entry-exit registrations;
(iii) the use of false, counterfeit or forged documents;
(iv) illegal immigration routes;
(c) information on cooperation with transport companies;
(d) information on insurance companies providing adequate travel medical insurance, including verification of the type of coverage and possible excess amount.
- Local Schengen cooperation meetings to deal specifically with operational issues in relation to the application of the common visa policy shall be organised regularly among Member States and the Commission. These meetings shall be convened within the jurisdiction by the Commission, unless otherwise agreed at the request of the Commission.
Single-topic meetings may be organised and sub-groups set up to study specific issues within local Schengen cooperation.
- Summary reports of local Schengen cooperation meetings shall be drawn up systematically and circulated locally. The Commission may delegate the drawing up of the reports to a Member State. The consulates of each Member State shall forward the reports to their central authorities.
On the basis of these reports, the Commission shall draw up an annual report within each jurisdiction to be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council.
- Representatives of the consulates of Member States not applying the Community acquis in relation to visas, or of third countries, may on an ad hoc basis be invited to participate in meetings for the exchange of information on issues relating to visas.
TITLE VI. FINAL PROVISIONS
Arrangements in relation to the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games
Member States hosting the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games shall apply the specific procedures and conditions facilitating the issuing of visas set out in Annex XI.
Amendments to the Annexes
Measures designed to amend non-essential elements of this Regulation and amending Annexes I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and XII shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure with scrutiny referred to in Article 52(3).
Instructions on the practical application of the Visa Code
Operational instructions on the practical application of the provisions of this Regulation shall be drawn up in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 52(2).
- The Commission shall be assisted by a committee (the Visa Committee).
- Where reference is made to this paragraph, Articles 5 and 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, having regard to the provisions of Article 8 thereof and provided that the implementing measures adopted in accordance with this procedure do not modify the essential provisions of this Regulation.
The period laid down in Article 5(6) of Decision 1999/468/EC shall be three months.
- Where reference is made to this paragraph, Articles 5a(1) to (4) and 7 of Decision 1999/468/EC shall apply, having regard to the provisions of Article 8 thereof.
- Member States shall notify the Commission of:
(a) representation arrangements referred to in Article 8;
(b) third countries whose nationals are required by individual Member States to hold an airport transit visa when passing through the international transit areas of airports situated on their territory, as referred to in Article 3;
(c) the national form for proof of sponsorship and/or private accommodation referred to in Article 14(4), if applicable;
(d) the list of third countries for which prior consultation referred to in Article 22(1) is required;
(e) the list of third countries for which information referred to in Article 31(1) is required;
(f) the additional national entries in the “comments” section of the visa sticker, as referred to in Article 27(2);
(g) authorities competent for extending visas, as referred to in Article 33(5);
(h) the forms of cooperation chosen as referred to in Article 40;
(i) statistics compiled in accordance with Article 46 and Annex XII.
- The Commission shall make the information notified pursuant to paragraph 1 available to the Member States and the public via a constantly updated electronic publication.
Amendments to Regulation (EC) No 767/2008
Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 is hereby amended as follows:
- Article 4(1) shall be amended as follows:
(a) point (a) shall be replaced by the following:
“(a) “uniform visa” as defined in Article 2(3) of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community code on Visas (Visa Code) <*>;
<*> OJ L 243, 15.9.2009, p. 1.”;
(b) point (b) shall be deleted;
(c) point (c) shall be replaced by the following:
“(c) “airport transit visa” as defined in Article 2(5) of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009;”;
(d) point (d) shall be replaced by the following:
“(d) “visa with limited territorial validity” as defined in Article 2(4) of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009;”;
(e) point (e) shall be deleted;
- in Article 8(1), the words “On receipt of an application”, shall be replaced by the following:
“When the application is admissible according to Article 19 of Regulation (EC) No 810/2009”;
- Article 9 shall be amended as follows:
(a) the heading shall be replaced by the following:
“Data to be entered on application”;
(b) paragraph 4 shall be amended as follows:
(i) point (a) shall be replaced by the following:
“(a) surname (family name), surname at birth (former family name(s)), first name(s) (given name(s)); date of birth, place of birth, country of birth, sex;”;
(ii) point (e) shall be deleted;
(iii) point (g) shall be replaced by the following:
“(g) Member State(s) of destination and duration of the intended stay or transit;”;
(iv) point (h) shall be replaced by the following:
“(h) main purpose(s) of the journey;”;
(v) point (i) shall be replaced by the following:
“(i) intended date of arrival in the Schengen area and intended date of departure from the Schengen area;”;
(vi) point (j) shall be replaced by the following:
“(j) Member State of first entry;”;
(vii) point (k) shall be replaced by the following:
“(k) the applicant’s home address;”;
(viii) in point (l), the word “school” shall be replaced by: “educational establishment”;
(ix) in point (m), the words “father and mother” shall be replaced by “parental authority or legal guardian”;
- the following point shall be added to Article 10(1):
“(k) if applicable, the information indicating that the visa sticker has been filled in manually.”;
- in Article 11, the introductory paragraph shall be replaced by the following:
“Where the visa authority representing another Member State discontinues the examination of the application, it shall add the following data to the application file:”;
- Article 12 shall be amended as follows:
(a) in paragraph 1, point (a) shall be replaced by the following:
“(a) status information indicating that the visa has been refused and whether that authority refused it on behalf of another Member State;”;
(b) paragraph 2 shall be replaced by the following:
“2. The application file shall also indicate the ground(s) for refusal of the visa, which shall be one or more of the following:
(a) the applicant:
(i) presents a travel document which is false, counterfeit or forged;
(ii) does not provide justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay;
(iii) does not provide proof of sufficient means of subsistence, both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to his country of origin or residence, or for the transit to a third country into which he is certain to be admitted, or is not in a position to acquire such means lawfully;
(iv) has already stayed for three months during the current six-month period on the territory of the Member States on a basis of a uniform visa or a visa with limited territorial validity;
(v) is a person for whom an alert has been issued in the SIS for the purpose of refusing entry;
(vi) is considered to be a threat to public policy, internal security or public health as defined in Article 2(19) of the Schengen Borders Code or to the international relations of any of the Member States, in particular where an alert has been issued in Member States’ national databases for the purpose of refusing entry on the same grounds;
(vii) does not provide proof of holding adequate and valid travel medical insurance, where applicable;
(b) the information submitted regarding the justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay was not reliable;
(c) the applicant’s intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa could not be ascertained;
(d) sufficient proof that the applicant has not been in a position to apply for a visa in advance justifying application for a visa at the border was not provided.”;
- Article 13 shall be replaced by the following:
Data to be added for a visa annulled or revoked
- Where a decision has been taken to annul or to revoke a visa, the visa authority that has taken the decision shall add the following data to the application file:
(a) status information indicating that the visa has been annulled or revoked;
(b) authority that annulled or revoked the visa, including its location;
(c) place and date of the decision.
- The application file shall also indicate the ground(s) for annulment or revocation, which shall be:
(a) one or more of the ground(s) listed in Article 12(2);
(b) the request of the visa holder to revoke the visa.”;
- Article 14 shall be amended as follows:
(a) paragraph 1 shall be amended as follows:
(i) the introductory paragraph shall be replaced by the following:
“1. Where a decision has been taken to extend the period of validity and/or the duration of stay of an issued visa, the visa authority which extended the visa shall add the following data to the application file:”;
(ii) point (d) shall be replaced by the following:
“(d) the number of the visa sticker of the extended visa;”;
(iii) point (g) shall be replaced by the following:
“(g) the territory in which the visa holder is entitled to travel, if the territorial validity of the extended visa differs from that of the original visa;”;
(b) in paragraph 2, point (c) shall be deleted;
- in Article 15(1), the words “extend or shorten the validity of the visa” shall be replaced by “or extend the visa”;
- Article 17 shall be amended as follows:
(a) point 4 shall be replaced by the following:
“4. Member State of first entry;”;
(b) point 6 shall be replaced by the following:
“6. the type of visa issued;”;
(c) point 11 shall be replaced by the following:
“11. main purpose(s) of the journey;”;
- in Article 18(4)(c), Article 19(2)(c), Article 20(2)(d), Article 22(2)(d), the words “or shortened” shall be deleted;
12. in Article 23(1)(d), the word “shortened” shall be deleted.