Kenyans travelling to European Union countries on a Schengen visa will pay at least KSh2,265 more in fees starting from February.
The higher charges come into force after the European Union Council adopted an updated Schengen Visa code. All Schengen visa applicants making applications after February 2020 will pay fees on this updated price structure.
Consequently, the Schengen visa fees will increase by 33.3 percent to €80 (KSh9,060) from €60 (KSh6,795) from February after the amended regulation came into force.
Children too will have to pay more at €40 (Sh4,530) instead of €35 (Sh3,964) paid currently.
The new code is, however, expending the period within which an application can be lodged from three months to six months in advance of a trip giving travellers plenty more time to plan their trips and visa applications.
What is a Schengen Visa
A Schengen visa is a short-stay permit that allows visitors to Europe to travel to any of the 26 states, which are members of the Schengen area, up to 90 days for tourism or business.
It enables the holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the member countries which include Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France and Germany among other European Union nations.
An increasing number of Kenyans have been seeking Schengen visas as travel to Europe for tourism takes root, with popular destinations including Mediterranean resort cities.
According to the updated regulations, Kenyans applying through an external visa service provider may, however, have to pay up to €160 (Sh18,120) per visa application, if the external service providers set the maximum service fee permitted, which is €80.
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, representing an acceptance rate of 87.6 percent.
Germany was the top 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 expenditure, in 2018, Kenyan citizens spent €2.31 million (Sh261.6 million) on visa applications to Europe, €286,140 (Sh32.4 million) of which was spent by applicants who had their visa applications rejected.
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Source : adapted from businessdailyafrica.com