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Key Points

  • The European Commission proposed the digitization of the Schengen visa
  • Under this system, a new platform would be introduced for collecting documents and payments for the visa

Overview

The European Commission proposed that the Schengen visa application process be digitized for related member states. The Schengen Area is a free-travel zone with 26 participating European member states. Visa-waivered nationals of the Schengen States are permitted to travel throughout the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days within any 180-day period. For a complete list of the Schengen States, check here.

This change will allow eligible applicants to obtain a digital copy of the visa rather than obtain a physical visa sticker. In addition, an online visa application platform would be created to facilitate the process. The following changes are currently anticipated to take place under the new system:

  • Visa applicants will be able to pay online through the platform
  • The Platform will be used to automatically determine which Schengen country will be responsible for examining the application
  • Up-to-date information on Schengen short-stay visas and information on the requirements and procedures for the application
  • Only first-time applicants or applicants with expired biometric data will be required to appear in person at a consulate for their biometric identifiers to be collected

What are the Changes?

On April 27, 2022, the European Commission proposed digitizing the Schengen visa process. The Commission stated that this change would help reduce costs associated with the Schengen visa application process and improve the Schengen Area’s security.

Looking Ahead

The Commission will need to present the proposal to the European Parliament and Council before officially being put into force. The EU member states will have five years to transition the platform into use from the approval date. The platform is expected to become operational in 2026. With the introduction of this online portal, travelers may want to expect closer tracking of days used for travel in the Schengen area. Continue to check the European Commission’s website for the latest updates and information.

Written by: Jessie Butchley, Global Immigration Writer, Envoy Global
Source: The European Commission

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