How and where now to apply for a Schengen visa and how long to wait for a visa

Since September 12, the visa facilitation agreement between Russia and the EU has been suspended. How in practice they will accept documents and issue visas to clients of tour operator companies, market participants do not yet know. The tour operators assessed the chances of getting a Schengen visa before the New Year and gave some recommendations to those who received a visa or are going to do so.

In accordance with the decision of the EU, since September 12, the visa facilitation agreement with the Russian Federation has been suspended. This means that Russian citizens will receive Schengen visas under the general conditions of the EU Visa Code.

Of the main ones: this is an increase in the visa fee for adults from 35 to 80 euros, for children 6‒12 years old – from 35 to 40 euros, an increase in the standard period for processing a visa application from 10 to 15 days, in some cases up to 45 days, if additional documents will be required. You will also need more documents to justify the purpose of the trip. Now there is no way to apply for an urgent visa and it will be more difficult to get a multiple-entry and “long” Schengen.


Information on the increase in the amount of the visa fee has already been published on the websites of visa centers of several EU countries – France, Spain, Italy, Germany. According to tour operators, they have exactly the same information. No official clarifications on how documents will be accepted from clients of tour operators, from consulates until received.

“We received general information about the changes in the procedure for issuing Schengen visas from September 12, which also appeared on the website of consulates and visa centers. The changes relate to an increase in the payment of fees, the processing time of applications and the provision of additional documents for a visa,” LEAD GROUP said.

TEZ TOUR said they are waiting for an official clarification regarding the changes that came into force on September 12 from the Visa Application Center and the Consulate General of Greece.

“At the moment, only an increase in size is known consular fees up to 80 euros and the processing time for applications up to 45 days. There is no information about the criteria for assessing applicants and the set of documents required by the new rules. Until the situation is clarified, the tour operator will continue to provide services to travelers in the same mode,” TEZ TOUR noted.

Other tour operators informed about the receipt of a message on the change in the amount of the visa fee from the consulate of Bulgaria – with a short wording that the visa costs 80 euros. And also from the Consulate of Hungary – but in an expanded version, with an explanation that the consular fee for issuing all categories of visas will be 80 euros, for children aged 6 to 12 years – 40 euros. The processing time for visa applications is 15 calendar days, which can be extended up to a maximum of 45 days in individual and justified cases. Supporting documents for a visa application must comply with the provisions of the Visa Code.

Market participants note that they very much hope to receive detailed consular information from all diplomatic missions by the end of this week. According to one of the experts, within this period, the consulates of the EU countries should receive the official instructions that they requested from the foreign ministries of their countries.

We emphasize that the tough recommendations that the European Commission presented on September 9 are not, after all, an “order” that is binding on all EU countries. Therefore, in any case, consultations are underway at the national level, on the basis of which the consulates of the EU countries will build their updated visa policy in Russia.


tightening of EU rhetoric, some countries continue to issue visas to Russians. This means that the opportunity to travel to Europe remains.

According to tour operators, the list of loyal EU countries that have so far issued and continue to accept documents for visas for tourist trips include Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Hungary, Cyprus (national visa, not Schengen ).

No longer accept documents from tourists Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgiumand Netherlands.

According to market participants, due to various reasons (for example, due to a reduction in the staffing of the consulate), the time for consideration of visa applications by Russians has already increased even before September 12. On average, the review of documents takes about four weeks, but the situation varies greatly from consulate to consulate.

So, the Hungarian consulate in Moscow on average issues a visa in 15 calendar days, the Greek consulate – in 2.5 weeks. At the same time, individual TEZ TOUR clients went through all the procedures at the Greek consulate and in 5 days.

Experts also pay attention to the fact that the loyalty of individual countries in the visa issue ultimately led to queues for registration and longer waiting times for visas to be issued in these consulates.

“The more loyal the country, the longer the time for obtaining passports even before the suspension of agreements, since loyalty directly flows into excitement and queues. These countries now include France, Spain, Germany. Last week, the terms for obtaining visas to such countries were from one and a half months, ”observers state.


Participants in the tourism market suggest that the average time for obtaining a Schengen visa after September 12 is expected to increase by another 7-10 days. Therefore, the minimum period for planning a trip to Europe and obtaining a visa will be at least 1.5-2 months.

But it is better to take care of obtaining a visa even earlier – 3-4 months before the start of the trip. Recall that the EU visa code allows you to apply for a Schengen visa 6 months before the planned trip

At the same time, experts add: all these are forecasts. Only time will tell how the situation actually develops.

“According to the current provisions of the EU visa code, applications submitted for consideration today cannot be released later than 27 October. But we don’t know how it will actually be,” one of the companies explained.


Experts agree that getting a multiple-entry visa will become more difficult, especially for those with a short visa history.

“Those who travel frequently and use visas correctly will be able to apply for a multi-Schengen visa. Those. on an Italian visa, most trips go to Italy, on a Finnish visa, to Finland, etc.,” says one of the market participants.

Visa experts do not rule out an increase in the number and share of LTV visas. visas, which are valid only for the country that issued them. For example, France can issue a three-year visa, but it will only be valid in France. It will no longer be possible to travel with such a French visa to another Schengen country.


According to tour operators, a sharp increase in the number They do not expect visa denials for their clients from the consulates of “loyal” EU countries. But at the same time, tourists themselves should approach the visa issue more carefully.

“In order to minimize the risk of refusal, you should carefully consider the requirements of the Consulates and prepare documents more carefully,” the VEDI GROUP company emphasizes.

In the current conditions, you should not take risks with the first entry rule: it is desirable that this be the country that issued the Schengen. Those. on a new Italian visa that has not yet been opened, it is better not to try to enter another Schengen country. This will now be closely monitored.

“If a tourist is traveling with a fresh Italian visa, then it is better if, for example, he flies from Istanbul directly to Italy, and with a Spanish Schengen visa to Spain, etc. This will help create or continue a positive visa history,” says one of the experts.

Add that it will be easier for clients of tour operators to obtain a Schengen visa under the new conditions than for independent applicants. It's simple: visa specialists of travel companies fill out the forms correctly, and most importantly, provide documents confirming the purpose of the trip (vouchers, air tickets, etc.).

According to tour operators, despite the announced toughening of the visa issue, it is possible and necessary to apply for Schengen, including when planning a trip to Europe for the New Year holidays.

There is time to apply for a visa. But it’s worth hurrying: as it was before the pandemic, the closer to the New Year, the more difficult it will be to sign up for a Schengen application.

Elena Myagkova

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