May 30, 2023

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Towards digitalization of Schengen visa procedures

Source: map

03/04/2023 17:00

The Council of the European Union (EU) recently adopted a negotiating directive aimed at digitizing and harmonizing the procedure for issuing Schengen visas.

Member states’ diplomats have agreed on a negotiating mandate to digitize the visa process, the EU Council said in a statement, which will “introduce the possibility of applying for a visa online and replace the current visa sticker with a digital visa”.

The initiative aims to “make the visa application procedure more efficient and improve the security of the Schengen area,” and the proposed new rules would create a unified platform dedicated to visa applications, the report said.

Pursuant to this proposal, all Schengen visa applications “will be submitted through this platform, a single website that will forward them to the relevant national bodies,” the Council notes, adding that visa applicants will be able to submit through this platform. , upload all relevant data, electronic copies of their travel documents and supporting documents and pay their visa fee.

Applicants will be notified through the platform of their visa-related decisions if they are applying for a visa for the first time, their biometric data is not valid, or if they are the only ones required to appear in person at the consulate. Received a new travel document.

“The digital Schengen visa will make it easier for travelers in good standing to apply for a visa, while also contributing to making the Schengen area more secure,” assessed Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmar Stenergaard. The country currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Under the proposed new rules, visas will be issued in digital form, in the form of a cryptographically signed 2D barcode. According to Ms Stenergaard, this “eliminates the risk of visa sticker tampering and theft”.

Last April, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal aimed at digitizing the visa process.

Based on the negotiating mandate agreed by the Council of the European Union, the Presidency of the Council will open negotiations with the European Parliament to reach an agreement on the final text.

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