The European Commission announced plans to fully digitize the process of obtaining a Schengen visa by 2025.
“Today, the European Commission proposes to digitize the Schengen visa process, replace the visa sticker and introduce the possibility of applying for a visa online through the European online visa platform. The new pact on migration and asylum aims to fully digitize visa procedures by 2025”, the European Commission said in a statement to TASS.
Changing the process will allow:
- Avoid purchasing visas by applicants who intend to apply in a country that offers faster visa application processing than the destination country;
- Reduce the security risks associated with physical visa stickers that may still be subject to falsification, fraud and theft.
Direct presence at the consulate will be required only for the following categories of applicants:
- first-time applicants for the collection of biometric identifiers;
- for applicants whose biometric data is no longer valid;
- for persons with a new document.
The proposal requires further approval by the European Parliament and the EU Council, after which Member States will five years to implement the transition to a common online visa platform. It is planned that the development of the platform can begin in 2024, and it will begin to function in 2026. Thus, all member states will potentially be able to use the platform in 2031.