EU Council Approves Online Application for Schengen Visa Process
The EU Council recently approved new ground-breaking laws that will fundamentally change the way visitors seeking to enter the 27 member states that make up the Schengen area must obtain visas.
This significant development allows applicants to submit their visa requests through an online platform, streamlining the entire application process.
Enhancing Efficiency and Convenience
Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez, the acting Spanish Minister for the Interior, emphasized the positive impact of the new regulations on citizens and application processing. By introducing the option to apply for a Schengen visa online, the system promises substantial improvements in efficiency and convenience for both travelers and national administrations.
Establishment of an EU Visa Application Platform
The EU Council's adoption of two key regulations lays the foundation for the creation of a dedicated EU visa application platform. The majority of Schengen visa applications will now be processed through this digital platform. This approach allows applicants to input all necessary information online, upload electronic copies of required documents, and complete visa fee payments without the need for in-person visits to consulates.
Eliminating the Need for In-Person Appearances
A notable feature of the new online visa process is its elimination of the requirement for in-person appearances at consulates for most applicants. Exceptions include first-time applicants, individuals with expired biometric data, and those with new travel documents. The introduction of this streamlined process aims to simplify and expedite visa applications, reducing the burden on both applicants and administrative bodies.
Introduction of a Digital Visa System
The innovative system also marks the end of traditional visa stickers, replacing them with a more secure and technologically advanced solution: a cryptographically signed barcode. This modernization not only enhances security measures but also aligns with the global trend toward digitalization in various administrative processes.
While the EU Council has approved the regulations, the specific date for implementing these changes will be determined upon the completion of technical work on the visa platform and the digital visa. This careful approach ensures that the transition to the new system is smooth and well-executed.
Moreover, the EU's adoption of these pioneering regulations signifies a significant step toward modernizing and simplifying the Schengen visa application process, aligning with the broader global shift toward digitization in administrative procedures.