On Tuesday, representatives from the various EU member states and MPs reached a consensus on how to modify the current Schengen visa system so that it is primarily digital and does not require the affixing of a sticker to a passport.
The majority of persons who require a visa for visits to a member state of the European Union will soon be able to apply for their visas online, rather than going to a consulate or visa service office in person, according to a new law that will become effective as soon as it is legally implemented.
According to the leading Member of the European Parliament (MEP) on the matter, Matjaz Nemec, the process would be “easier, cheaper, and faster” for applicants.
Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard of Sweden, whose nation is now holding the rotating EU presidency, stated that the reform also “increases the security of the Schengen area by for example reducing the risk of falsification and theft of the visa sticker.”
The Schengen region includes practically all of the 27 nations that are members of the EU; the exceptions being the countries of Cyprus, Ireland, Bulgaria, and Romania. In the not too distant future, the latter two are going to become a part of it.
Citizens of more than 60 nations outside the bloc can enter the European Union without needing a visa if they come from one of those countries.
At the moment, guests who do require a visa are required to purchase a Schengen sticker in order to affix it to their passport.
The visa system, on the other hand, has been progressively moving toward digitalization ever since the formation of EU databases that help monitor admissions and exits, overstays, and security checks at the bloc’s exterior borders.
Some nations, such as Australia, already have systems in place that are comparable to these, in which an online visa can be linked to a traveler’s passport without the need for a sticker to be placed inside of it.
Applicants can use these platforms to pay the processing fees and upload the needed papers to be considered for the position.
First-time applicants for a Schengen visa, as well as applicants who have just received a new passport or had their biometric data updated, may be required to make an appointment in person at a consulate or visa office under the rules of the EU’s entry system.