The Guardian
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How embassies violate EU law on free visa processing fee



As VFS Global Collects Visa Fee from students, others
Despite the European Union Law stipulating that students should not pay processing fees for Visa, the Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) Global has continued to charge students visa processing fee.

According to the European Union Law, pupils, students, and accompanying teachers or lecturer, who undertake trips for the purposes of study or educational training have the right to a visa free of charge.

This statement is also buttressed on the website of the Transparency International School on integrity for prospective students, pupils, and accompanying teachers or lecturers.

Article 16 (4), (b), of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing visa code stipulates that students, others need not pay visa fee, but findings revealed that the VFS (Visa Facilitation Services) Global, a visa application agent for European countries in Nigeria, still collects visa fees from students for French Embassy, and other European countries within the Article 16 of the EU Law.

An alumus of the Transparency International School on Integrity, who preferred anonymity, said she paid the visa fee. “I didn’t know the law existed. I was in a hurry so I didn’t bother,’’ she responded.

A student who needed a visa sent an email to the French Embassy being one of the European Consulates on May 29, 2018, informing them of the relevant law that students are not to pay the visa fee, there was no response. Since there was no response, on May 31st, 2018, he had to pay the visa fee compulsorily, paying N22,305, as visa fee, with a grand total of N33,155 at the VFS global office.

During The Guardian investigation, the officials of the VFS Global insisted students and others within the EU law student visa category must pay the visa fee.

Call to the French Embassy on the EU visa code of Article 16 ended unaddressed, as the embassy official said even if an email was sent to the French Embassy on the visa law, it would be the discretion of the embassy to reply or not.

When asked how long it would take the French Embassy to reply enquiries when told an email had been sent to the French Consulate on the EU law, the French Embassy replied that the time to reply was indefinite.

However, the French Consulate said those within the EU Law category for students and others must pay the visa fee, but did not comment on the EU visa code for students, and others.

Messages sent to the VFS Global, Nigerian Foreign affairs Ministry, and French Embassy via emails on the EU Visa code for students were not replied as at press time.

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