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EU visa fee nearly doubled

The Schengen visa fee has been raised from the present 35 euro to 60 euro for a stay lasting less than 90 days.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 21:27 IST

Travellers to the European Union (EU) from countries such as India will now need to pay nearly twice as much for the visa.

The Schengen visa fee has been raised from the present 35 euro to 60 euro for a stay lasting less than 90 days, according to the INEP news agency.

A Schengen visa entitles a traveller to enter one EU country and travel freely throughout the Schengen zone.

The visa hike was necessary to cover additional costs of new technology such as biometrics in the visas, the EU justice and home ministers said in a statement.

The new visa fee will apply from Jan 1, 2007 at the latest.

There are, however, exceptions for certain categories.

The visa fee will be waived entirely for children under six years, students and accompanying teachers and researchers from third countries travelling within the EU for the purpose of carrying out scientific research.

The name "Schengen" originates from a small town in Luxembourg where the treaty was first signed in 1985 to lift internal border checkpoints and controls in the EU. However, not all 25 EU states are part of the Schengen Zone.

The 15 Schengen countries at present are - Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

Except Norway and Iceland, others are EU members.

Indian visitors to Britain - a EU member but not in the Schengen zone - need a separate visa.