New EU rules on short-stay visas to the EU – Schengen area came into effect the 2 February 2020. The intention is to make it easier for legitimate travellers to apply for a visa to come to Europe, facilitating tourism, trade and business. At the same time, it will free up resources to be used in countering irregular migration risks and threats to internal security.
Citizens of the following countries continue to be on the list of citizens that can fly to Europe without having to apply for a Schengen visa: Brunei, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and Taiwan.
Some of the changes are, that applications can be submitted six months prior to the trip instead of three under the old rules, but not later than 15 days before the trip. Travel patterns will be used to increase validity of multi-entry visas up to five years. Applicants will be able to fill out an application in electronic form. Other updates include the Visa fee increased 33% from €60 to €80.
The system will this month be operational in London, Hong Kong, Central Europe, Africa and the middle East, Australia and Asia (except China, India and the Philippines). In March it will be extended to the rest of Russia, China, India, Philippines.
More about the rules here:
and here: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/