The EU has taken a step towards the introduction of a digital Schengen visa - the ambassadors of the EU member states have agreed on a mandate for the EU Council to negotiate a proposal for the digitalization of the visa procedure.
This was reported by the press service of the Council of the European Union on Wednesday, according to Yevropeiska Pravda.
The proposal, which the EU plans to adopt, introduces the possibility of applying for a visa online and replaces the current visa sticker with a digital visa. It aims to make the visa application procedure more efficient and increase the security of the Schengen area.
"Online applications will reduce the number of trips to the consulate for travelers and simplify the process for national administrations. At the same time, the digital visa will put an end to the risk of falsification and theft of visa stickers," commented Maria Malmer Stenergaard, Minister of Migration of Sweden, which currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
By introducing the new procedure, the EU will create a platform for visa applications. This will be a single website that will redirect applicants to the relevant national visa systems.
On this platform, applicants will be able to enter all the necessary data, upload electronic copies of their travel and supporting documents, and pay visa fees.
Applicants will also be notified of their visa decision on the platform.
Personal attendance at the consulate will be required only for first-time applicants, as well as for persons whose biometric data is no longer valid and those who have a new travel document.
If the applicant intends to visit several Schengen countries, the platform will automatically determine which one is responsible for processing the application based on the length of stay.
However, the applicant will also have the opportunity to indicate whether a specific EU Member State should process their application according to the purpose of the trip.
Author - Olena Madiak, 29/03/2023