New Schengen Visa Rules for Indians: Get Extended Stays with Multiple Entries

The European Union has relaxed Schengen visa rules for Indian citizens, making travel to Europe significantly easier. Frequent travelers can now obtain multi-year visas, allowing for extended stays and smoother travel between Schengen Area countries.
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Great news for frequent travellers to Europe! The European Union (EU) has adopted new, more favourable Schengen visa rules for Indian citizens. This means smoother travel to the 29 Schengen Area countries, including popular destinations like France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

What’s Changed?

Previously, Indians typically received a Schengen visa valid for a maximum of three months. Under the new “cascade regime,” frequent travellers can now obtain:

  • Two-year multi-entry visas: After obtaining and using two Schengen visas within the past three years.
  • Five-year multi-entry visas: Following the two-year visa, provided your passport has sufficient validity.

With these extended visas, you can travel freely within the Schengen Area for short stays, similar to visa-free nationals.

Who Benefits?

5-Year Multiple-Entry Schengen Visa

The new visa system primarily benefits Indian travellers who frequently visit European countries. Eligible individuals, who have traveled to Europe on a Schengen visa at least twice in the past three years, qualify for the ‘cascade regime.’

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This category grants a two-year multi-entry visa, allowing travel and stays in any Schengen country without visa hassles. However, it is important to note here that these visas are for tourism purposes only. Working in the Schengen Area is not permitted.

Also Read: Planning a Europe Trip? Navigating Single-Entry Schengen Visa Rules

Visa Extension Criteria

Following the initial two-year visa, travellers may apply for a five-year extension, provided their passport maintains sufficient validity. Notably, if the passport’s validity expires within three years, the extension may be limited.

How to Apply

Specific details about the application process are expected to be released soon by EU embassies and consulates in India. Keep an eye on their official websites for updates.

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Also Read: Navigating Schengen Visa Processing Time in India: A Complete Guide

A Growing Partnership

The recent Schengen visa reforms serve as a testament to the growing partnership between Europe and India. Last year, France further solidified this bond by easing visa rules for inbound Indian students.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France in July 2023, the European nation extended a five-year post-study visa to Indian students who completed their master’s degrees there. This move represents a significant enhancement from the previous two-year work visa granted to Indian graduates.

Indian Passport Climbs in Global Rankings

As per the 2024 Henley Passport Index, which ranks 199 nations based on passport strength, the Indian passport currently holds the 85th position with 62 nations offering visa-free access. Comparatively, neighbouring countries such as Pakistan rank at 106 and Bangladesh at 102.

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Planning Your European Adventure

With easier access to Europe, now’s the perfect time to start planning your dream European adventure. Research destinations, book flights and accommodation, and explore the rich history, culture, and beauty that Europe has to offer.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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