Saturday, 10 April 2010

Freedom to travel: Schengen long-stay visas

Third-country nationals legally residing in the Schengen area on the basis of a long-stay visa have been unable to travel to other member states during their stay or to transit through the territories of other (EU) member states when returning to their home country.

A new EU Regulation now extends the principle of equivalence between residence permits and short-stay visas issued by the Member States, fully implementing the Schengen acquis to long-stay visas. As a result, a long-stay visa should have the same effects as a residence permit as regards the freedom of movement of the holder in the Schengen Area.

A third-country national holding a long-stay visa issued by a Member State should therefore be allowed to travel to other Member States for three months in any six- month period, under the same conditions as the holder of a residence permit. The Regulation does not affect the rules regarding the conditions for issuing long-stay visas:

Regulation (EU) No 265/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 March 2010 amending the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement and Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 as regards movement of persons with a long-stay visa; published OJEU 31.3.2010 L 85/1.

The directly applicable Regulation 265/2010 entered into force on 5 April 2010.

The United Kingdom and Ireland do not take part in the new arrangement.

Ralf Grahn