Is there a right to a short stay visa under the EU law?

In a recent judgment (C‑403/16), the European Court of Justice has upheld the rights determined by the EU law in the context of short stay visa applications.

The judgment has confirmed that the Member States competent authorities may refuse to issue a short stay uniform visa, relying exclusively on a ground provided for by the Visa Code. It also ruled in favour of a right to an appeal procedure, granting a judicial appeal at a certain stage of the proceedings. The ECJ upheld that “in examining a visa application the national authorities have a broad discretion as regards the conditions for applying the grounds of refusal laid down by the Visa Code and the evaluation of the relevant facts”.

In his opinion, Advocate General Bobek has clearly suggested that “There is no right to a visa under EU law”.

Applicants for short stay uniform visas are granted the following rights:

Right to have an application fairly processed, exclusively relying on the grounds provided for by the Visa Code. Right to appeal under the procedural rules provided by the national legislation of each Member State, in accordance with the principles of equivalence and effectiveness. A judicial appeal must be granted.

Obligation to declare cash amounts in the international transit areas of the airports

In another judgment (C-17/16), the European Court of Justice ruled on the control of cash entering or leaving the European Union, notably on the status of the international transit areas of the airports.

The Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005 on controls of cash entering or leaving the Community, lays down harmonised rules for the control of cash entering and leaving the European Union and complements the Money Laundering Directive. Pursuant to Article 3 of the said Regulation, individuals leaving or entering the European Union, EU nationals and non-EU nationals, are obliged to declare cash of a value of €10,000 or more to competent authorities.

The question referred to the ECJ by the Court of Cassation (France) is whether the obligation to declare is applicable in the international transit area of an airport of a Member State.

The ECJ ruled that the international transit areas of the airports of Member States must not be excluded from the scope of Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005 and as a consequence,” a natural person disembarking from an aircraft coming from a third State in an airport in the territory of a Member State and waiting in the international transit area of that airport before boarding another aircraft heading to another third State is in possession of a sum equal to or greater than €10,000 in cash when he enters the European Union, he is subject to the obligation to declare.”

It must be noted that, the information can be provided in writing, orally, or electronically and must identify the declarant, the owner of the cash, amount and nature of the cash, the provenance and its intended use. Any undeclared cash may be detained by the administrative authorities.

Green light to smart borders and overstayers systematic tracking

On 9 December 2017, The Official Journal of the European Union has published the Regulation (EU) 2017/2226 of 30 November 2017 establishing an Entry/Exit System (EES) to register entry and exit data and refusal of entry data of third-country nationals crossing the external borders of the Member States (i.e. Schengen external borders), and determining the conditions for access to the EES for law enforcement purposes.

The Regulation concerns short stays (i.e. stays on the territory of the Member States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period) and applies to both categories, third-country nationals visa-required and visa-exempt.

Before being issued a residence permit, third-country nationals, family members of EU nationals and nationals of a third-country enjoying the right of free movement equivalent to that of Union citizens, are as well concerned.

The EES represents a Central European System will collect identity data, record date and place of entry/refusal of entry and exit, and replace the passport stamping.

The EES will improve the efficiency of the external border controls, and inter alia systematically identify overstayers. It must be noted that where the usual data retention period will be three years following the date of the exit/refusal of entry, overstay records, will be stored for a period of five years following the date of expiry of the period of authorised stay.

With regard to third-country nationals authorised to switch short stay to long stay pursuant to Article 20(2) of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, the competent authority that extended the authorised stay, shall add the data regarding the period of extension of the authorised stay, to the latest relevant entry/exit record.

The Commission shall decide the date from which the EES is to start operations, after being tested by the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale information systems in cooperation with the Member States.

Modernising the EU's common visa policy

The European Commission is reviewing the procedures for issuing 'Schengen' visas and has launched a public consultation aims to gather the views of all interested citizens and organisations.

The European Commission aims to modernise the current visa policy in order to find the right balance between on the one hand, preventing irregular migration and security risks and on the other hand, straightening economic growth and cultural exchange.