Guidelines on ‘minimum service’ for processing of visa applications

20 Mar 2020

Guidelines on ‘minimum service’ for processing of visa applications from specific categories of visa applicants during the COVID-19 emergency period.

As part of the measures to contain the spreading of COVID-19, many Member States have chosen to suspend the processing of visa applications for non-essential travel, in most cases, for an undetermined period of time. Such initiatives also match the constantly evolving travel restrictions.

On 16 March 2020, the Commission adopted a Communication on “COVID-19: Temporary Restrictions on Non-Essential Travel to the EU.” On 17 March 2020, to limit the spread of the virus globally, the Members of the European Council held a video conference on COVID-19 and reaffirmed the need to do everything necessary to tackle the crisis, including by reinforcing the external borders by applying a coordinated temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU. 

Since then the Communication which lists a number of categories of travellers who are to be exempted from the temporary travel restrictions has been updated. Despite temporary partial closure of visa sections, Member States’ consulates (and possibly external service providers collecting applications) should therefore remain open and accept visa applications from the following categories:

  • Family members of EU citizens covered by Directive EC/2004/38;
  • Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals;
  • Frontier workers;
  • Transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff to the extent necessary;
  • Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions;
  • Passengers in transit in the international transit areas of airports between connecting extra-Schengen flights;
  • Passengers travelling for imperative family reasons;
  • Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons

Applicants intending to travel to Sweden, Spain or Iceland excluded by the travel restrictions because of the above mentioned reasons are advised to contact the Embassy via email ( ) for an assessment of the reason and, if applicable, instructions on how to lodge the application.

Fore more information: Guidelines for minimal service processing of Schengen visas

Last updated 29 Mar 2020, 5.19 PM