The EU Council has given the green light to the introduction of the “digital Schengen visa” system, marking a pivotal moment in the evolution of border management within the Schengen Area.
This decision marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of border management within the Schengen Area.
The political process for implementing the digital Schengen visa has been successfully completed with the EU Council’s recent decision. Now, only technical adjustments remain to be made before this innovative system becomes a reality.
Once the decision is signed and published in the Official Journal of the European Union, it will take effect after 20 days. This means that travelers and visa applicants can look forward to a more convenient and efficient visa application process in the near future.
One of the key features of the new system is the transition from traditional, physical visa stickers in passports to digital visas. These digital visas will be accessible via the internet and will be issued as 2D barcodes. This shift not only reduces the need for physical documents but also streamlines the visa issuance process, making it more accessible and adaptable to the digital age.
Applicants will have the advantage of being able to download their visas directly to their mobile devices, eliminating the hassle of carrying physical documents. Additionally, the new system will allow visa applicants to submit their requests in multiple languages through an online platform, further enhancing accessibility and user-friendliness.
The visa application process itself will be centralized through a single internet platform, simplifying the submission of necessary documents. Applicants can upload digital copies of the required paperwork and pay the visa fee through this platform, streamlining the process and reducing paperwork.
One of the significant benefits of the new digital Schengen visa system is its ability to inform applicants about which member country will be processing their visa application when they intend to visit multiple Schengen countries. The system will be seamlessly integrated with the border management systems and databases of EU member states, ensuring compatibility and efficient visa processing.
However, it’s worth noting that certain categories of travelers will still need to visit the consulates of Schengen countries. These include first-time visa applicants, individuals without valid biometric data, and those with newly issued passports.
As this decision ushers in a new era of digital convenience and efficiency in visa applications, it aligns with the EU’s commitment to modernizing and simplifying travel procedures. It is expected to make travel to Schengen countries more accessible, user-friendly, and secure for millions of visitors in the years to come. (AA)