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Visa Digitalisation: Visa journey to the EU turns into simpler – The European Sting – Vital News & Insights on European Politics, Economic system, Overseas Affairs, Enterprise & Know-how


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This article is delivered to you in affiliation with the European Commission.


Today, the Commission is proposing the digitalisation of the Schengen visa course of, changing the visa sticker, and introducing the chance to submit visa purposes on-line by the European on-line visa platform. The New Pact on Migration and Asylum set the target to completely digitalise visa procedures by 2025. It is a chance to successfully enhance the visa utility course of by lowering the prices and the burden on Member States in addition to the candidates, whereas additionally enhancing the safety of the Schengen space.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, stated: “Today we are bringing the EU’s visa policy into the digital age. With some Member States already switching to digital, it is vital the Schengen area now moves forward as one. We are proposing a fully digitalised visa application to help both travellers and Member States ensure smother and more secure application process.”

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson stated: “A modern visa process is crucial to make travel to the EU easier for tourism and business. Half of those coming to the EU with a Schengen visa consider the visa application burdensome, one-third have to travel long distance to ask for a visa.  It is high time that the EU provides a quick, safe and web-based EU visa application platform for the citizens of the 102 third countries that require short term visa to travel to the EU.”

In right this moment’s digital age, making use of for a visa remains to be a prolonged and closely paper-based course of with candidates having to journey to submit and accumulate their passport with a visa afterwards, resulting in accumulating prices each for travellers and Member States. Several Member States have taken steps to maneuver visa purposes on-line however there are variations within the extent to which they’ve finished this. Only just a few supply the opportunity of paying on-line. These procedures additionally proved problematic throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the place candidates had been now not in a position to freely go to consulates to use for visas.

Harmonising and unifying visa utility procedures inside the Schengen space will assist to keep away from so known as ‘visa shopping’ by candidates who could also be tempted to lodge an utility with a Schengen nation that gives quicker visa utility processing than with a rustic that’s truly their vacation spot. The digitalisation of the visa course of may also cut back safety dangers posed by the bodily visa stickers, which may nonetheless be liable to falsification, fraud and theft. Today’s proposal can be consistent with the final EU method to encourage the modernisation and digitisation of public companies.

Through digitalisation, making use of for a Schengen visa will turn into simpler and the visa itself will probably be safer:

  • Visa candidates will be capable of apply for a visa on-line, together with paying the visa price by a single EU platform, whatever the Schengen nation they wish to go to;
  • The platform will mechanically decide which Schengen nation is accountable for inspecting an utility, particularly when the applicant intends to go to a number of Schengen international locations;
  • The platform will present candidates with up-to-date info on Schengen short-stay visas, in addition to all vital info relating to the necessities and procedures (resembling supporting paperwork, visa price or the necessity for an appointment to gather biometric identifiers);
  • Appearing in particular person on the consulate would solely be necessary for first time candidates for the gathering of biometric identifiers, for candidates whose biometric information are now not legitimate or these with a brand new journey doc;
  • The visa will embody state-of-the-art safety features, which will probably be safer than the present visa sticker;
  • The new system will be sure that elementary rights are all the time protected.

Background

The European Commission in 2018 proposed to amend the Visa Code by adopting visa insurance policies to new challenges and equally careworn that digital visas are the way in which ahead for the long term. When revising the EU Visa Code in 2019, the European Parliament and the Council said the purpose of growing a typical resolution to permit Schengen visa purposes to be lodged on-line, thereby making full use of the latest authorized and technological developments. The COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the slowing down of Schengen visa operations worldwide, as a result of issue of receiving visa candidates in consulates and visa utility centres, prompted Member States to name upon the Commission to hurry up work on digitalisation of visa procedures. The Pact on Migration and Asylum proposed by the Commission in September 2020 set the target of constructing the visa process absolutely digitalised by 2025, with the introduction of a digital visa and the flexibility to submit visa purposes on-line.

Next steps

The Commission proposal will now be mentioned by the European Parliament and the Council. Member States could have then 5 years to change to the frequent on-line visa platform. Based on the result of the negotiations between the co-legislators, the event of the platform may begin in 2024 and turn into operational in 2026. Considering the 5 yr transition interval, all Member States may use the platform in 2031.




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