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Visa policy for human rights defenders- written question

How is the Commission ensuring or planning to ensure that the Union’s support for human rights defenders is reflected in the legislative instruments relative to EU visa policy? How will these comply with the consistency requirement for the Union’s actions enshrined in the EU Treaties?

Written question by Hannah Neumann

Answer given by Ms Johansson on behalf of the European Commission

The common EU (short stay) Schengen visa policy applies to the nationals of 105 third countries(1) . The procedures and conditions for issuing visas for intended short stays (i.e. 90 days per 180 days period) on the territory of the Member States are set out in the Visa Code(2) . Generally, the Visa Code does not distinguish between categories of applicants on the basis of their profession, activities or travel purpose. The revised Visa Code that became applicable on 2 February 2020 contains new provisions on the mandatory issuing of multiple entry visa with a progressively longer validity to persons who have used previous short stay visas correctly. These general rules apply to all categories of visa applicants, including human right defenders. Persons who are issued a multiple entry visa with long validity would be significantly facilitated in their travels into the EU.

The Commission is not aware of systemic problems faced by human rights defenders fulfilling the necessary entry conditions in being granted short stay visas.

Persons who seek to travel to a Member State for stays beyond 90 days per 180 days period may apply for a long stay visa or a residence permit. Depending on the qualification and purpose of residence, these are covered by national or EU legislation on legal migration.

Subject: Visa policy for human rights defenders

Priority question for written answer P-000850/2020 to the Commission
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