In a move that is likely to be celebrated by many, foreign ministers in the European Union recently announced that the Schengen Visa application process is going digital. Once implemented, this change will do away with the need for applicants to get a visa sticker for their passport, and could eliminate physical Schengen Visa appointments with embassies/consulates or Schengen visa service providers.
The new process is expected to roughly work like this: Schengen Visa applicants will simply upload their documents, data, and biometric information online, where they will also pay all associated fees. Once approved, they will receive a cryptographically signed barcode that they can either print or store on a device as proof of their Schengen Visa. However, keep in mind that first-time Schengen Visa applicants may still have to attend in-person appointments.
There’s no exact timeline for when the digital Schengen Visa application platform will be implemented. News currently indicates that there are several months of technical work remaining, meaning that travelers could begin applying for a Schengen Visa digitally in 2024.
According to Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, the new digital Schengen Visa application system “will simplify the application process for travelers.”
About the Schengen Visa
A Schengen Visa is required for residents of many countries, including residents of China and India, in order to visit any country in the Schengen Area, which is the world’s largest area with no internal border controls. The Schengen Area currently consists of 27 countries, of which 23 are EU members. Schengen Visa holders are permitted to travel to and between any member nations on a single visa for business or tourism purposes for a period of up to 90 days.
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