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EU visa applications and granted visas

Figure 1 – EU visa applications and granted visas (in millions)

EU visa applications and granted visas (in millions)

According to the IA, the total revenue from EU visa fees obtained by all Member States amounted to €792 million in 2017. These resources are deemed insufficient, causing problems such as understaffing and a lack of appropriate training, which affect the quality and integrity of the examination of visa applications. In fact, when compared with other countries’ fees for similar visitor visas, the EU visa fee is actually rather low.
The problem of ‘visa-shopping’ is also addressed in the IA, as Member States’ different practices on issuing MEVs of long validity lead individuals to apply for visas in those Member States that are perceived as offering the most favourable outcome. This could mean that applicants present false information or documents regarding their travel information or purpose, a phenomenon that is confirmed by many Member States. At the same time, differentiated approaches may create accusations of ‘unfair competition’ in order to attract tourists, businesses and investments.
The issue of irregular migrants remaining on the territory of EU Member States while waiting to be returned to their home country is regarded as an incentive for further irregular migration to the EU. Return of irregular migrants can be enforced only in cases where the individual possesses a valid travel document, whereas in the absence of valid travel documents, cooperation with third countries of origin is needed. Thus, there is a link created between visa and return policy, as visa policy can be used in relation to third countries readmitting irregular migrants. This would form part of a variety of instruments that enable the EU to achieve better cooperation with third countries. For example, the EU has been concluding VFAs with third countries. Those agreements are linked with readmission agreements establishing the procedures for the return either to EU or to the non-EU country of individuals that are in an irregular situation.

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