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EU Council adopts new rules for online Schengen visa applications

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EU Council adopts new rules for online Schengen visa applications

Digital platforms for applying for a Schengen visa will soon be launched, as the European Council has supported the introduction of a new system. Find out what will change for travelers and how to apply for a visa online

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In the spring of 2023, the EU Council began negotiations on the digitalization of the Schengen visa application process. This decision was expected to increase security in the Schengen area and simplify the visa application procedure. And as stated in the release of the EU Council, the relevant resolution has already been adopted.


What will change for tourists planning to travel to the Schengen area and how they will be able to apply online - we will tell you further in the article.


Digitalization of the visa application procedure: benefits for tourists


Thanks to the decision, citizens planning to travel to the Schengen area will be able to submit visa applications and documents online without visiting consulates and embassies, and therefore without waiting for a response to their application. It is expected that by the time the digital platform is launched, about 18 million people from third countries in the visa-free zone will use the system.


According to Fernando Grande-Marlasca Gomez, Acting Minister of the Interior of Spain, the digitalization of the system will simplify the application process not only for tourists, but will also have a positive impact on administrative processes in general and optimize the entire process, allowing requests to be processed more quickly and efficiently.


"The ability to apply for a Schengen visa online will be a great improvement for citizens and for the application process. It will simplify the application process for travelers and at the same time ease the burden on national administrations, which will be able to respond faster and more efficiently," he said.




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How to apply for a Schengen visa online?


The EU Council explained that users will be able to enter all personal data, upload electronic copies of their travel and supporting documents, and pay the visa fee through a single digitized system. In addition, applicants will also receive visa decisions on the platform via a special notification.


The release also notes that the platform will automatically determine the country that will process the application, but applicants will be able to indicate whether they want their application to be processed by a particular country in accordance with the purpose of their trip.


At the same time, a visit to a consulate or embassy will not be mandatory for everyone, as a tourist will still need to apply in person to get the first Schengen visa. This will also apply to those who have expired biometric documents or new travel documents.


The visa sticker itself will be replaced with a more secure barcode with a cryptographic signature, which will increase the security of visa documents and reduce the possibility of their forgery.


The new rules will come into force after the completion of the digital platform and the digitalization of the visas themselves. The EU Council will announce this additionally.


As a reminder, the European Union has suspended the launch of the new ETIAS border control system tentatively until 2025. Read more about how the new system will work in our previous article.


Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




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