The European Commission has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative set to revolutionize the processing time for Schengen Visas through the digitalization of the visa application process.
European Commission Spokesperson for Home Affairs, Anitta Hipper, has emphasized the significant impact this development is expected to have, with the potential to eliminate long waiting periods for visa decisions.
Digital Schengen Visa
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The EU Visa Application platform will offer applicants a seamless and standardised procedure, reducing the need to visit consulates or visa application centres in person.
Visas will be issued in a digital format and digitally linked to the traveller’s document, eliminating the requirement to leave the travel document for a visa sticker.
The Commission has called on Member States to increase their operational capacities and increase appointment availability to address the post-pandemic surge in visa applications.
Key Aspects of Digitalization
Hipper outlined two key aspects of this digitalization that will streamline the visa application process:
1. EU Visa Application Platform
The EU Visa Application platform will provide applicants with a seamless and standardized procedure, reducing the need for in-person visits to consulates or visa application centres. This innovation is expected to save applicants valuable time and resources.
2. Digital Visa Issuance
Visas will now be issued in a digital format and digitally linked to the traveller’s document. This eliminates the need to surrender the travel document for the application of a physical visa sticker.
Hipper emphasized, “Visa applicants no longer have to leave their travel document at the consulate or Visa Application Centre to add a visa sticker, and there are no additional costs to retrieve the travel document.”
Benefits of Digital Visa Applications
The digitalisation of the Schengen visa application process is expected to have a number of benefits, including:
- Reduced processing times
- Reduced administrative burden
- Increased efficiency and security
- More convenient and accessible application process for applicants
Impact on Travellers
Travellers applying for Schengen visas can expect a more streamlined and efficient application process with the digitalisation of the system. They will no longer need to submit physical documents or visit consulates or visa application centres in person.
Additionally, visas will be issued in a digital format, eliminating the need to leave their travel documents for visa stickers.
Timeline for Implementation
The timeline for the implementation of the digital Schengen visa application system is still being finalized. However, it is expected to be rolled out in the coming months.
The digitalisation of the Schengen visa application process is a welcome development that is expected to have a positive impact on both travellers and Member States. Travellers can expect a more convenient and accessible application process, while Member States will benefit from reduced administrative burden and increased efficiency.
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