EU to Introduce Online Application System and Digital Visas for Schengen Countries

The Parliament and the Council of the European Union have reached an agreement on the digitalization of Schengen visas, revolutionizing the application process and improving security. The new regulations introduce an online application system and digital visas, aiming to simplify procedures and reduce the risk of falsification and theft.
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In a significant development, the Parliament and the Council of the European Union have come to a consensus on regulations aimed at digitalizing the process for Schengen visas.

It is worth noting that the ambassadors of European Union (EU) member countries have already agreed to the Council’s negotiating mandate on a proposal to digitise the Schengen visa system.

The new rules are set to bring about a revolutionary change in how individuals apply for these visas, introducing an online application system and replacing the traditional visa sticker with a digital visa.

Schengen membership to Romania and Bulgaria

Enhanced Efficiency and Strengthened Security

The primary objective of this proposal, according to the Council, is to streamline the visa application process and boost efficiency. Additionally, the European Union aims to bolster security within the Schengen Area by implementing these new regulations.

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Swedish Minister for Migration, Maria Malmer Stenergard, highlighted the benefits of the digital visa, stating, “The digital visa will make the application process easier for travellers, simplify administrative procedures, and increase the security of the Schengen Area by reducing the risk of falsification and theft of the visa sticker.”

Must Read: Estonia, Malta, and Slovenia: Toughest Schengen Visa Destinations for Indian Travellers

Approval Process and Creation of a New Visa Application Platform

Before the adoption process can commence, the agreement must receive approval from the Member States of the European Union. Should it prove successful, a new platform for Schengen visa applications will be established.

Under the proposed system, applicants will submit their Schengen visa applications through a single website. The platform will then redirect applicants to the appropriate visa systems.

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Within this platform, individuals can enter their relevant information, upload electronic copies of travel and supporting documents, and make the necessary visa fee payments. Additionally, applicants will receive notifications regarding their visa decisions through the same website.

Also Read: Best and Worst Countries for Schengen Visas for Indian Travellers Revealed

Reduced In-person Appearances

In-person visits to consulates will generally only be required for first-time applicants, individuals with new travel documents, and those with expired biometric data.

For applicants intending to visit multiple Schengen countries, the platform will automatically determine the Member State responsible for examining the application based on the intended stay’s duration.

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However, applicants will retain the option to indicate if their application needs to be processed by a specific Member State based on the purpose of travel.

The Future of EU Visa Policy

“Digtalisation is the future of EU visa policy,” stated rapporteur Matjaž Nemec following the vote. The introduction of a fully digitalised system and digital visas is expected to result in easier, more affordable, and faster EU visa procedures.

Digital Schengen visas, under the newly proposed regulations, will be issued in a cryptographically signed digital format as a 2D barcode. This innovative approach aims to mitigate the risks associated with counterfeit and stolen visa stickers, thereby safeguarding the integrity of the visa system.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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