EU Proposes Digital Schengen Visa Process
The lengthy Schengen visa process is set to go completely online in the next few years.
The European Union Commission has proposed that EU countries digitalise the Schengen visa process, replace the visa sticker, and introduce the possibility of submitting visa applications online through the EU online visa platform.
The new digital system will replace the tedious paper application process endured by millions of would-be visitors to Europe.
Travellers can expect a “smoother and more secure” system, the European Commission has promised.
Online System and Improved Security
The New Pact on Migration and Asylum set the objective to fully digitalised visa procedures by the year 2025 as this is an opportunity to improve the process by reducing the costs and the burden on the Member States and applicants while improving the security in the area.
According to the Commission, harmonising and unifying visa application procedures within the Schengen Area will help to avoid ‘visa shopping’ by applicants who may consider lodging an application with a Schengen country that offers faster visa application processing rather than with a country that is actually their destination.
In addition, the digitalisation of the visa process will also lower the security risks posed by the physical visa stickers, which could be prone to fraud, falsification, and theft.
Thus, through digitalisation, those that apply for a Schengen visa will be able to do so online and pay the visa fee through a single EU platform, regardless of the Schengen country they plan to visit.
As soon as an application is received, the platform will automatically determine which country is responsible for examining the visa application.
It has been noted that the visa will include state-of-the-art security features, which will be safer than the visa sticker. Moreover, the new system will ensure that fundamental rights are protected at all times.
“A modern visa process is crucial to make travel to the EU easier for tourism and business. It is high time that the EU provides a quick, safe and web-based EU visa application platform for the citizens of the 102 third countries that require short term visas to travel to the EU,”Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson
The proposal of the Commission has been welcomed by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson. She said that a modern process is more important than even half of those visiting the EU with a Schengen visa think of the visa application as burdensome.
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