EU Plans to Create Easier Schengen Visa Application Procedures

EU Plans to Create Easier Schengen Visa Application Procedures

The European Commission has proposed to EU countries to digitize the process of obtaining Schengen visas and introduce the possibility of applying online through a visa platform SchengenVisaInfo reports.

The new Migration and Asylum Pact has set the goal of fully digitizing visa procedures by 2025. This is expected to improve the process by reducing costs and burden on EU Member States and applicants, while improving security in the region.

According to the European Commission, the harmonization and unification of visa application procedures in the Schengen area will help to avoid “buying a visa” by applicants who apply in an EU country with faster data processing, and not in the country they plan to visit. Digitization should also reduce the risks associated with physical visa stickers, which can be prone to fraud, falsification and theft.

Thus, the process of obtaining a visa can look like this: those who wish to apply online and pay the visa fee through a single EU platform, regardless of the Schengen country they plan to visit. As soon as the application is received, the platform will automatically determine which EU state is responsible for its consideration. In addition, the platform will also provide applicants with up-to-date information on short stay Schengen visas and data on requirements and procedures.

This means that as soon as all processes go online, applicants will not be required to go to consulates. It is noted that the personal presence at the consulate will be mandatory only for those who apply for the collection of biometric identifiers for the first time, for persons whose biometric data is no longer valid, as well as for persons with a new travel document.

The proposal to digitalize the Schengen visa process will now be discussed by the Council and Parliament. After the EU member states will then have five years to implement the procedure.

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