EU Council okays rules for Schengen digital visa application system
The Council of the European Union on November 13 adopted two regulations which pave the way for the implementation of a digital visa application system for people entering the Schengen area.
In a press release, the Council said the adoption of the rules means the putting in place of an EU visa application platform through which all Schengen visa requests will be made, with a few exceptions.
The EU says the digital visa plan is to make it easier for people to apply for and collect their travel documents.
The rules state that while applying for a visa, the applicant would have to submit their necessary personal data, digital copies of their travel and supporting documents, and then pay their visa fees using the dedicated platform.
The system also does away with in-person visits to consular offices, except for first-time applicants who have to get their biometrics captured, those whose biometrics have outlived their validity as well as those applying with a new travel document.
Speaking about the new system, Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez, acting Spanish minister for the interior, said “the possibility of applying for a Schengen visa online will be a great improvement for citizens and for the processing of the application.”
“It will simplify the application process for travelers and, at the same time, will ease the burden on national administrations, which will be able to respond more quickly and effectively,” he added.
The adopted rules will come into force on the 20th day following their publication in the EU’s official gazette, per the news release. However, the date of application of the rules will be determined after technical work on the platform, which is ongoing, is completed.
The adoption of the rules by the Council comes about three weeks after the EU Parliament voted for the same.