Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Schengen residents with long-stay visa: Proposals on freedom to travel

There is a problem concerning circulation within the Schengen area without internal borders for third-country nationals legally residing in one of the Schengen states on the basis of a long-stay "D" visa issued by that member state:

Lacking a residence permit, D visa holders are not allowed to travel to the other member states during their stay; nor are they allowed to transit through the other states when returning to their country of origin, as this is not provided for by the Schengen Convention.


Due to the different legal bases and procedures, the European Commission made two parallel proposals in order to remedy the problem:





Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement as regards long stay visa and alerts in the Schengen Information System; Brussels, 27.2.2009 COM(2009) 90 final (11 pages)




Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of […] amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a long-stay visa; Brussels, 27.2.2009 COM(2009) 91 final (11 pages)


The aim of the proposals is to extend the principle of equivalence between a residence permit and short-stay visas to long-stay D visas; hence a long-stay visa would have the same effects as a residence permit as regards circulation in the Schengen area.



Visa Code


Meanwhile, the Visa Code, Regulation 810/2009 has been approved:




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); published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) 15.9.2009 L 243/1



Article 1
Objective and scope

1. This Regulation establishes the procedures and conditions for issuing visas for transit through or intended stays in the territory of the Member States not exceeding three months in any six-month period.

2. The provisions of this Regulation shall apply to any third-country national who must be in possession of a visa when crossing the external borders of the Member States pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement, without prejudice to:

(a) the rights of free movement enjoyed by third-country nationals who are family members of citizens of the Union;

(b) the equivalent rights enjoyed by third-country nationals and their family members, who, under agreements between the Community and its Member States, on the one hand, and these third countries, on the other, enjoy rights of free movement equivalent to those of Union citizens and members of their families.

3. This Regulation also lists the third countries whose nationals are required to hold an airport transit visa by way of exception from the principle of free transit laid down in Annex 9 to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, and establishes the procedures and conditions for issuing visas for the purpose of transit through the international transit areas of Member States’ airports.



Regulation 810/2009, the Visa Code will apply from 5 April 2010.



Lisbon Treaty


The Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on 1 December 2009, so both proposals will probably be adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure.


***


We will return to look at the progress of the proposals to ease the travel restrictions on residents with long-stay visas.




Ralf Grahn







P.S. Sooner or later, I believe, the European Union has to become more openly and directly party political in order to become understood and approved by EU citizens.

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