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Long-term visa holders to have free movement within EU borders
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 09 - 03 - 2010

Long-term visa holders from a European Union country part of the bloc's Schengen area will be able to travel to
other countries within the system from April 5, the European
Parliament ruled today, approving changes already agreed by EU
interior ministers, dpa reported.
Under present rules, third country nationals who have been given a
long-stay type 'D' Schengen visa are not allowed to travel to other
member states during their stay, nor pass through them when returning
to their country of origin.
For instance, a United States student attending a course in
Belgium cannot visit a specialized library in the Netherlands, or
spend a weekend in Barcelona, Spain.
"This is an example of how absurd situations can arise," said
Carlos Coelho, a Portuguese deputy who drafted the report
approved by the European assembly in Strasbourg.
The 25-member Schengen area includes most EU countries, plus
Switzerland, Norway and Ireland. Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus are
excluded but are expected to join in the future, while Britain and
Ireland enjoy a permanent derogation.
Denmark is also out, but has the choice of taking part in Schengen
rules on a case-by-case basis. The country has six-months' time from
the time the new long-term visa regulations enter into force to
decide whether it wants to apply them or not.
The changes will allow foreigners to stay in another EU country
for up to three months in any half year, giving them the same rights
as people holding a residence permit.
But their long-stay visas cannot last for more than one year.
People wishing to stay in a Schengen country for longer will be
expected to obtain a residence permit.

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