The European Council created history on November 13, 2023, when it approved the ground-breaking Digital Schengen Visa Programme. This action is a major step towards the digital future of travel to Europe as it attempts to streamline the Schengen area's security and simplify the visa application procedure.
The decision has a good effect on residents and administrative efficiency, as stated by interim Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez.
He stressed that having the option to apply for a Schengen visa online will benefit citizens and expedite the application process. Travellers' application processes will be made simpler, and national governments will be less burdened and able to react more swiftly and efficiently.
The current Schengen visa application process necessitates applicants visiting Embassies, Consulates, or Visa Centres. On the other hand, an online application portal for EU visas will be created with the new legislation.
Most of the time, in-person visits will not be required because of this platform, which will enable applicants to input the required information, upload electronic copies of documents, and pay visa fees.
The goal of the European Commission has been to fully digitise the Schengen visa application procedure by 2025. The goal is to strengthen the security protocols inside the Schengen region in addition to streamlining the application process.
The new rules will improve the general security of the visa system by substituting a cryptographically signed barcode for the present visa sticker.
Applying for a visa online allows you to visit various Schengen countries; depending on how long you plan to stay, the online platform will identify which member state will process your application. On the other hand, applicants are still able to indicate a specific member state depending on why they are travelling.
Twenty days following their publication in the European Union's Official Journal, the two regulations approved by the European Council will go into force. The precise date of these regulations' implementation will be determined once the technological development of the digital visa and the visa platform is finished.
With this significant decision, travel within the Schengen area enters a new era that is marked by increased accessibility, efficiency, and security. As Europe embraces the digital age in visa processing, check back for more updates.
Under the new method, in-person trips to consulates will be unnecessary in most circumstances. First-time applicants, people whose biometric data has expired, and anyone in possession of new travel documents might still need to make an in-person appearance.
Twenty days following its publication in the European Union's Official Journal, the two regulations will take effect. After the technical work on the digital visa and the visa platform is finished, the precise applicability date of the new regulations will be determined.