On Wednesday, The EU member states ambassadors agreed to the Council’s negotiating mandate for a proposal to digitalize the visa process/procedure. According to the proposal, you will be able to apply for your visa online and replace the current visa sticker with a digital one. It aims at making the visa application process/procedure more efficient and improving the Schengen Visa area’s security.
Under the proposed new guidelines, visas will be issued in digital format, as a 2D barcode, cryptographically identified/signed. This has been done to reduce the security risks related to counterfeit and stolen visa stickers.
“A digital Schengen visa will make it easier for legitimate travelers to apply and will at the same time help make the Schengen area safer,” Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard stated. Online applications will reduce the number of trips to the consulate for travelers and make the process smoother for national administrations. At the same time, the digital visa will put an end to the risk of falsification and theft of the visa sticker.”
She added that the platform for visa applications will be created by the proposed new rules. All applications for Schengen visas will be made through this platform, a single website, which will forward them to the relevant national visa systems.
On this platform, Schengen visa applicants will be able to introduce all relevant data, upload electronic copies of their travel- and supporting documents, and pay their visa fees. Additionally, they will be informed of visa decisions.
Only first-time applicants, people whose biometric data are no longer valid, and people with a new travel document will need to appear in person at the consulate.
The platform will automatically determine, based on the amount of time spent in each Schengen country, which one is in charge of reviewing the application when a person plans to visit multiple Schengen countries. However, depending on the purpose of the trip, the applicant will also be able to specify whether the application must be processed by a specific member state.
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