A proposal by ambassadors of EU member states has introduced the possibility of applying online for a Schengen visa and replacing the visa sticker with a digital visa, according to a statement released by the European Council of the European Union on Thursday.
The plan to digitalize the application process for Schengen visas is expected to increase overall efficiency, improve security within the region, and offer convenience to applicants.
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“A digital Schengen visa will make it easier for legitimate travelers to apply and will at the same time help make the Schengen area safer,” said Maria Malmer Stenergard, Swedish Minister for Migration.
She said that the digital process will ensure that applicants do not have to make repeated trips to the consulate.
“At the same time, the digital visa will put an end to the risk of falsification and theft of the visa sticker,” added Stenergard.
All applications will go through a single website platform, where visa applicants will be able to upload all required personal information and necessary supporting documents as well as pay the visa fees, according to the statement.
The decisions regarding the status of visas will also be displayed on the same website. If the visa is issued, it will be in the digital form of a 2D barcode, signed cryptographically.
“First-time applicants, persons whose biometric data are no longer valid and those with a new travel document” are the only situations in which a visa applicant will need to personally go to the consulate to complete the process.
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