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Local consular cooperation regarding visas

The aim of this recommendation is to facilitate the exchanges of information on visa-related matters between the consular services of European Union (EU) countries, with a view to harmonising policy and practice regarding the issuing of visas.


Council recommendation of 4 March 1996 relating to local consular cooperation regarding visas [Official Journal C 80 of 18.3.1996].


When necessary for practical reasons, European Union (EU) countries are encouraged to establish cooperation between their consular services in order to exchange information:

  • on the criteria for issuing visas;
  • on risks to national security and public order or on the risks of illegal immigration;
  • to help determine the good faith of visa applicants and their reputation.

The relevant rules on data protection apply to these exchanges of information.

To facilitate these exchanges of information, the consular services should organise:

  • meetings between the Heads of consular services and their assistants responsible for visa matters;
  • mutual visits of their officials that are responsible for issuing visas.

Furthermore, EU countries’ consular services should draw up joint reports regarding any relevant local level visa-related issues, at the request of the Council. They should also adopt the necessary joint measures for determining whether any simultaneous visa applications have been made and whether another EU country has previously refused a particular visa application.


Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code) [Official Journal L 243 of 15.9.2009].

Regulation (EC) No 767/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 July 2008 concerning the Visa Information System (VIS) and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (VIS Regulation) [Official Journal L 218 of 13.8.2008].

Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement [Official Journal L 81 of 21.3.2001].

Last updated: 16.03.2011
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