Communication from the Commission Guidance for a phased and coordinated resumption of visa operations
The coordinated resumption of visa operations worldwide in a gradual manner is a challenge that the Member States can meet effectively by working in coordination together. It is of utmost importance for the cohesion of the Schengen area and the functioning of the common visa policy that unilateral actions are avoided and that Local Schengen Cooperation plays its coordinating role in full. The Commission stands ready to support Member States in this endeavour, which, if managed properly, will allow a smooth resumption of international travel, business, tourism and people-to-people contacts that are essential to our European way of life, all the while controlling health risks to the maximum extent possible.
It cannot be excluded that a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic or another global health emergency will make it necessary to re-impose travel restrictions in the future. In the short term, the application of the general rules for the issuing of multiple entry visas with long validity to all eligible applicants, and in particular to key transport workers such as lorry and train drivers and air and sea crew, will also serve as a contingency measure. This will help avoid a repetition of the administrative bottlenecks for many essential travellers, which have been experienced during recent weeks. The goal should be to make the common visa policy more resilient to large-scale disruptions as the one experienced in recent months.