+86 21 658 939 33 support@translegal.com.cn

When Islandic volcano Eyjafjalla erupted, it caused passengers’ tempers to erupt from the almost total lock-down of European airspace. Some stranded travelers were worried about getting their money back for tickets, food, hotels and phone calls, while others were worried about visa issues. The EU Commission has taken extraordinary measures to deal with this unprecedented situation.
Airspace closure has resulted in the disruption of travel of many third country nationals who are subject to a visa requirement to stay in or transit through the Schengen States. Because of the unprecedented nature of this situation, as well as the magnitude of persons affected, the Commission has recommended that the Member States apply special derogations to several categories of travelers. One group covered by the recommendation is comprised of those holding a short stay visa that expired before they were able to leave the territory of the Member States. They will be allowed to remain there until air traffic is normalized without having to apply for a visa extension, and their passports will be stamped when they finally get to exit without being deemed to have stayed past the authorized period.
Another category of travelers who need the benefit of a derogation are those who never intended to enter the area of Member States, but were forced to do so.  This category includes travelers who are forced to return home by land, instead of air, as planned, and those who are forced to leave the international transit area of a Schengen airport in order to find a place to sleep until they can continue their journey. The Commission recommends that visas be issued to them at the external borders, but that since these third country nationals are compelled to enter the territory for reasons of force majeure, the usual visa fee and requirement of travel medical insurance should be waived.
The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, noted that the common visa system was demonstrating proof of flexibility and efficiency. If it didn’t, there would be a lot of passengers who might blow their tops.