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Finland adopts new Schengen visa rules

Fees will rise under the new system but applications can be submitted up to six months before travel.

viisumihakemus suomen pietarin pääkonsulaatti
Russians' visa applications at the Finnish consulate in St. Petersburg. Image: Kari Kosonen / Yle

On Sunday Finland adopted new Schengen visa rules along with other countries in the visa-free zone, reports Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The EU said it is updating its Schengen visa system to help mitigate illegal migration.

The updated visa scheme means travellers can now apply for visas up to six months ahead of a planned trip. The changes also mean that a Schengen visa will now cost more. Adults' application fees rose to 80 euros from 60 and six to 11-year-olds' visas now cost 40 euros instead of 35.

"Visa fees have not been adapted since 2006 and a 60-euro fee no longer covers the costs of processing applications, in particular due to inflation," the EU Commission said in a statement this week.

Meanwhile travellers with a positive visa history—meaning they haven't overstayed—can apply for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years.

In most cases, an application can be submitted directly in the traveller's country of residence, and where possible, filled in and signed electronically, according to the Commission.

The Schengen zone includes 26 countries, including nearly all EU states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. There are no routine checks when crossing borders within the area, but travellers must produce a passport or other valid identification on request.

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