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Schengen Visas are Going Digital to make travel easier

Updated: May 16

Officials from the European Travel Commission (ETC) state that the digitalization of Schengen visa applications will make traveling to the area much easier. They acknowledge that this change will significantly benefit both travelers and the Member States, calling it a game-changer.

Schengen Visa

As the digitization of Schengen visa applications progresses, officials from the European Travel Commission (ETC) acknowledge that it will simplify and streamline the process for foreigners wishing to enter the Schengen area.

Teodora Marinska, Head of Public Affairs at ETC, pointed out that foreigners often struggle to secure visa appointments due to high demand. She noted instances where foreigners apply for visas in Schengen countries where the process is easier, simply because appointments are unavailable in their desired destination country.

Marinska emphasized that the digitalization of the process will revolutionize the experience, offering "a seamless procedure for visa applicants with automatically assigned appointments." Once the Schengen visa application goes digital, most applicants, except for first-timers, can handle everything online through a single platform.

By eliminating the need for physical visits to embassies or consulates, digitalization will substantially cut costs for applicants, who will only need to pay visa fees.

Moreover, with the entire application process moving online, applicants will no longer have to gather and print numerous documents.

On the platform, applicants can upload electronic copies of their travel and supporting documents and make payments. EU authorities have clarified that besides first-time applicants, those with invalid biometric data or new travel documents will need to physically submit their applications.

However, since the process is online, those needing in-person visits won't face long waits at consulates or visa centers.

Applicants can also choose on the platform if they prefer a specific Member State to process their application.

Once applicants and Schengen Member State authorities complete the process, applicants will receive decision notifications through the platform. Visas will be issued digitally, featuring a 2D barcode and cryptographic signature.

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