Friday, May 24, 2024

Easier travel with digitisation of Schengen Visas

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With the process of digitising Schengen visa applications underway, those responsible for the European Travel Commission (ETC) admit that the process will make it easier and more convenient for foreigners to enter the Schengen bloc.

Teodora Marinska, Head of Public Affairs at ETC, highlighted that foreigners who need a visa to enter the Schengen area often are not able to find available places due to high demand, noting that “there are times when foreigners ask for a visa at an embassy in a Schengen country just because they know that the procedure is easier and due to the lack of appointments in the country they want to visit”, according to a report by Publituris.

Taking this into account, Marinska stated that the digitalisation of the process will be a game-changer, as it will provide “a seamless procedure for visa applicants and automatically assign appointments”. Once the Schengen visa application is digitised, applicants, except those applying for the first time, will be able to complete all procedures online on a single platform.

Since applicants will no longer have to physically visit an embassy or consulate, digitalisation will significantly reduce costs, as they will only have to pay visa fees.

Furthermore, when the application process is fully online, applicants will no longer have to collect and print multiple documents.

On the platform, they will be able to upload electronic copies of their travel documents and other supporting documents and pay the fees.

As EU authorities have explained, in addition to first-time applicants, people whose biometric data is invalid and those in possession of a new travel document will have to physically present themselves to submit the application.

However, since the process will be carried out online, people who need to present themselves at the consulate, embassy, or visa center will not be subject to long waiting periods.

All visa applicants will also have the option to indicate on the platform whether they want their visa application to be processed by a particular Member State.

Once the entire process has been completed by applicants and the competent authorities of the Schengen Member States, applicants will be informed of the decision on their application through the same platform.

Visas will be issued in digital format and in the form of a 2D barcode and will be cryptographically signed.

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