Schengen Visa: EU Works on Digitalizing the Visa Application to Facilitate the Procedure

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New plans to digitalize the Schengen visa application procedure have been put forward by the EU Commission aiming to phase out the use of the visa sticker and allow applicants to submit their visa application entirely online via the EU visa platform. reports that this digitalization process is set to be completed by 2025 according to the New Pact on Migration and Asylum in order to help reduce the costs and simplify the current visa application procedure for European countries and all the applicants while also providing better security for the Schengen Area.

The Commission stated that the idea of a unified and harmonized Schengen visa application process will contribute to stopping the issue of “visa shopping” by travelers who opt for the easiest visa procedure offered by a Schengen member state even if it’s not their real travel destination.

The digitalization of the visa procedure will also allow decreasing all risks associated with the Schengen visa security system which often lead to fraud, theft, or falsification of the documents. Through this modernized process, applicants will be invited to submit their application and proceed to the payment of the application fee online via the EU platform without consideration of the country they are planning to go to.

Once the application has been successfully sent, the official website will ensure to carry on with the application’s process by deducing the relevant country responsible for each application review. It will also keep applicants updated and informed of all information related to the short-term visas and official requirements and procedures.

Therefore, making an appointment with a consulate or embassy will no longer be required for Schengen visa applicants. According to the EU Commission, it will only be mandatory for first-time applicants to proceed with the fingerprinting process and for all the persons that need to provide again the biometric data or who own a new travel document.

Moreover, the digitalization of the Schengen visa process will also include advanced security features ensuring the protection of data and rights, as opposed to the current risky visa sticker.

Ylva Johansson, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, has approved this digitalization plan of the Schengen Visa, and stressed the importance of establishing a modern visa procedure, especially since about half of those applying for the visa complain about the burden of the current visa procedure.

She added that traveling toward the EU and the Schengen area for tourism and professional purposes should be made easier using an efficient, secure, and fast EU visa application platform for citizens of more than 100 countries requiring the short-stay Schengen visa to visit an EU member state.

This proposal was also enthusiastically praised by Margaritis Schinas, the Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, who declared that establishing a smooth and safer visa application procedure is absolutely crucial for both the Schengen member states and applicants.

Talks about this plan of digitalizing the Schengen application process will be taken over by the Council and Parliament and all the countries part of the EU will have to adopt this new online procedure within 5 years.