EU Commission Proposes Digital Schengen Visa Process

The European Union Commission has proposed adopting a digital Schengen visa process, which could ultimately support visa applications being submitted online through the EU online visa platform. According to the Commission, a unified visa application process will help avoid ‘visa shopping’ wherein applicants apply for a visa to the Schengen country with the fastest processing timeline rather than their actual destination.

With a digital visa process, Schengen visa applicants could file online and pay the fees through a single EU platform. The platform would route the application to the appropriate country and provide applicants with current information regarding short-stay visa requirements and procedures. With an online application process, applicants would not need to go to a consulate unless they are applying for the first time and need to provide biometric information.

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The EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum, introduced in September 2020, made visa digitalization by 2025 an objective, identifying cost savings, resource efficiency, and better security as outcomes. The Commission’s proposal will now be discussed by the Council and Parliament; the EU Member States have five years to adopt the online visa platform.

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