What is ‘Visa Shopping’ and why is it being done to enter countries in Europe

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Source: The post is based on the article “What is ‘Visa Shopping’ and why is it being done to enter countries in Europe” published in “Indian Express” on 28th October 2023

Why in the News?

The practice of ‘Visa Shopping’ has been gaining popularity in several Indian states.

What is Visa Shopping?

DefinitionIt is a practice where individuals obtain visas for countries one may or may not intend to visit during the visa’s validity period.
PurposeIndividuals opt for visa shopping as a means to enter their preferred countries, particularly in Europe, even if they already have a visa for another European nation.
ExampleSchengen Visa: It allows travelers to explore many European countries without the need for separate visas.
The Schengen system was established by European countries in 1985.Under it, member countries form the Schengen area and people can travel freely between them without going through border controls. 
ConcernsVisa Shopping is not illegal if the traveller follows the norms and guidelines of the visa process and gets valid permission to stay in that country.
However, legal concerns arise if a traveller seeks visas for one country but actually intends to stay in another or use it merely as an entry point.

UPSC Syllabus: International Relations

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