As of February 2020, Kenyan citizens will need to pay a fee of €80 (Approximately Ksh9,000) instead of the current €60 (Ksh7,000), when applying for a Schengen Visa from Kenya.
Children too, will have to pay €40 (Ksh4,500) instead of €35 (Ksh4,000), as it is currently.
Kenyans will be subject to several changes in terms of visa application procedures, rules and benefits, starting from Monday, February 2, 2020.
Due to the implementation of the Updated Schengen Visa Code, adopted by the EU Council in June 2019, all representative missions of the Schengen Countries located abroad are obliged to apply the new rules, including the ones in Kenya.
“Since Regulation (EU) 2019/1155 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 amending Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) is binding in its entirety, and is directly applicable in all EU Member States in accordance with the Treaties, all Schengen countries, including Lithuania, will apply it from 2 February 2020,” an official from the Information Monitoring and Media Division of Lithuania explained.
The new rules also permit Kenyans to submit an application up to six months in advance of their trip, instead of three as it is now, and foresee a harmonized approach to the issuing of multiple entry visas with lengthier validity to regular travelers with a positive visa history.
According to SchengenVisaInfo.com, Member States that are not represented in Kenya in terms of visa admission, are now obliged to cooperate with external service providers, in order to facilitate visa application for travelers.
The external service providers are allowed to charge a service fee, which cannot be higher than the visa fee. This means Kenyans applying at an external visa service provider may have to pay up to €160 (Ksh18,000) per visa application, if the external service providers set the maximum service fee permitted, which is €80 (Ksh9,000).
In addition, the updated Visa Code introduces a mechanism that assesses whether the visa fees should change, every three years. Another mechanism that will use visa processing as leverage will be introduced, in a bid to improve cooperation with third countries on readmission.
According to Gent Ukëhajdaraj from SchengenVisaInfo.com, due to this mechanism the fees may increase even to €160, if the EU authorities see it necessary.
“A visa fee of €120 or €160 will apply to non-cooperative third-countries, in cases when the EU Commission considers that action is needed in order to improve the level of cooperation of the third country concerned and the Union’s overall relations with that third country,” Ukëhajdaraj explains, adding that this provision shall not apply to children under 12 years old.
The mechanism may also shorten visa validity, and introduce prolonged visa processing periods.
Statistics by SchengenVisaInfo.com show that in 2018, Schengen embassies and consulates in Kenya processed 38,503 visa applications, 4,769 of which were rejected at a rejection rate of 12.4%.
Germany was the top favourite country for visa submission, as 6,142 of the applications submitted in Kenya were for Schengen visas to Germany, followed by France with 5,059 and the Netherlands with 4,406 applications.
In terms of expenditures, in 2018, Kenyan citizens spent €2,310,180 in visa applications to Europe, €286,140 of which money was spent by applicants who had their visas.
22 of the 28 EU member states participate in the Schengen Area. Of the six EU members that are not part of the Schengen Area, four—Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania—are legally obliged to join the area in the future, while the other two—Ireland and the United Kingdom—maintain opt-outs. The four European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, are not members of the EU, but have signed agreements in association with the Schengen Agreement. Three European microstates that are not members of the European Union but which are enclaves or semi-enclave within an EU member state—Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City—are de facto part of the Schengen Area.