The prolonged Schengen visa course of is ready to go utterly on-line within the subsequent few years.
The brand new digital system – proposed by the European Fee final week – will exchange the tedious paper software course of endured by tens of millions of would-be guests to Europe.
Travellers can count on a “smoother and safer” system, the European Fee has promised.
“With some member states already switching to digital, it is important the Schengen space now strikes ahead as one,’ declared Fee Vice-President for Selling our European Method of Life, Margaritis Schinas.
So how will the brand new system work – and when must you begin planning a Euro getaway?
Do you want a Schengen visa?
The Schengen visa permits travellers to remain for tourism or enterprise in 26 European international locations for as much as 90 days in a 180 day interval.
The journey space covers most EU international locations, plus Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. EU international locations Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Eire and Romania are excluded.
The complete listing of nations who want a Schengen visa is obtainable right here. Individuals, Brits, and Australians are amongst these exempt from the visa guidelines.
In 2019, over 15 million individuals used Schengen visas to journey round Europe.
How do you apply for a Schengen visa?
For the time being, could be guests should submit their software on the consulate of the nation they intend to spend essentially the most time in throughout their journey.
They have to then return, in particular person, to select up their passports when the bodily visa sticker has been added.
In accordance with the Fee, this course of “proved problematic throughout the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The visa processing time ranges from two weeks to 60 days.
The tedious bureaucratic course of should evolve, declared European Commissioner for House Affairs Ylva Johansson.
“Half of these coming to the EU with a Schengen visa think about the visa software burdensome, one third need to journey lengthy distances to ask for a visa,” she stated.
“It’s excessive time that the EU supplies a fast, secure and web-based EU visa software platform for the residents of the 102 third international locations that require quick time period visa to journey to the EU.”
How will the digital Schengen system work?
In The New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the European Fee outlined a aim to “totally digitise” visa procedures by 2025.
Visa candidates will be capable to apply – and pay – for a visa by a single on-line EU platform.
The platform will robotically decide which Schengen nation is chargeable for inspecting an software. For the time being, the paper process may be complicated for candidates who intend to go to a number of European international locations. Below the digital system, candidates who miss out data and paperwork will likely be robotically notified, saving them hours of problem.
When issued, the visa will not be granted as a bodily sticker. As an alternative, will probably be supplied as a cryptographically signed 2D bar-code.
First time candidates will nonetheless have to go to a consulate for the gathering of biometric identifiers.
The proposal must be accepted by the European Parliament and Council, however will seemingly sail by. It will likely be tabled in parliament in some unspecified time in the future within the subsequent few months.