On 5 April 2010 the new EU Visa Code became applicable, concerning short-stay visas (for 90 days). The Visa Code affects third-country nationals, who want to travel to the 22 EU states and the three non-EU members of the Schengen area, without internal border controls. More than 10 million visas were issued in 2008.
Of the EU member states Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania have not yet made it into the Schengen zone. Ireland and the United Kingdom have chosen to remain outside.
The three non-EU Schengen member states are Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
Here is a roundup of news reports and comments aimed at the general public:
BBC News: EU harmonises Schengen visa rules (5 April 2010)
Deutsche Welle: EU unveils improved Schengen visa application system (5 April 2010)
Radio Netherlands Worldwide: EU visa deal will ease travel for millions (6 April 2010)
EUobserver.com, Andrew Rettman: EU relaxes rules on short-stay visas (6 April 2010)
RTT News: EU Unveils New Visa Application System For Schengen Zone (5 April 2010)
Voice of Russia, Ilya Kharlamov: Schengen more transparent but not more accessible (5 April 2010)
Novinite.com: EU Streamlines Schengen Visa System (5 April 2010)
A press release, available in 22 languages, from the European Commission outlined the main changes: A step forward for the common visa policy: the EU Visa Code becomes applicable (IP/10/387; 30 March 2010).
MEMO/10/111 of 30 March 2010, published only in English, offered more exact details and references, including to the legal acts: The EU Visa Code will apply from 5 April 2010.