The European Union (EU) has dismissed reports that it had introduced new restrictions that would cost Kenyans seeking to travel to Europe more for visas.
Reports published in a number of media outlets indicated that a number of countries in Europe had revised their visa rules, introducing more stringent measures and increasing the visa application fees.
The widely shared reports had alleged that European Union member states had imposed new visa fees. For instance, the reports indicated that an adult Kenyan traveler heading to the US via Amsterdam must pay Ksh10,500 at the Dutch Embassy in Nairobi or its agents to obtain a Schengen transit visa.
This is in addition to Ksh18,824 they pay to obtain at the American visa. This implied that Kenyan travelers would pay up to Ksh29,000 just for a visa before even purchasing an air ticket.
According to the European Union, Germany, and Spain embassies, Kenyans in possession of a Schengen transit visa will not be required to acquire another visa as long as they stay at the airport.
They, however, noted that Kenyan travelers will need the Schengen Visa if they leave the airport area.
“You don’t need a visa as long as you stay in the airport transit areas. However, if you have a combination ticket that requires you to exit the airport, then you will need a Schengen entry visa,” European Union clarified.
A Schegen visa is a short-stay pass that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area, per stays up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.
The Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables its holder, including Kenyans, to enter and freely travel within and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.
However, Kenyans planning to study or live in one of the Schengen countries for more than 90 days are required to apply for a national visa of that European country and not a Schengen Visa.
For instance if a student is going to study in Germany, they are supposed to apply for a national visa in Germany.
Kenyans who hold Schengen visas can transit through more than 26 European countries including Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France and Germany among other European Union nations.
It saves one the cost of applying for visa at every transit point thus one roams through different countries but without leaving the airport area.
This clarification comes just months after the UK revised its requirements while blacklisting Kenyan universities. UK changed its High Potential Individual (HPI) visa requirements.
According to the new directives, applicants for the HPI visa are required to have graduated from the top 50 ranked universities globally, a list in which no African university made the cut.