head 3

Schengen visa to go digital… application methods will change

Brussels: Paper systems and unnecessary waiting are about to be phased out of the Schengen visa distribution system.

The European Union has made a political decision to make digital facilities available to Schengen visa applicants, which will further simplify the process. All that is required now is the legal completion of the proceedings.

Non-EU citizens applying for a Schengen visa can use the digital service. Accordingly, up-to-date changes will be made to the visa procedures of the countries concerned. The Schengen visa reform is part of the Schengen Strategy, which was approved by the European Commission and the European Parliament and Council in June 2021.

No more headaches of outsourcing. No extra fees.

In some countries, European embassies have outsourced Schengen visa processing to outsourcing agencies such as VFS. When visa applications were stopped at embassies and turned over to external agencies, the months-long wait to process the applications of thousands of people eager to visit European countries sparked outrage.

It is common to see VFS attract applicants without even providing accurate answers. This global agency appears to be imposing an additional burden on applicants from Ireland by charging service fees instead of the fees set by the embassies. Tens of thousands of applicants from non-EU countries have to beg for the mercy of a travel permit before this private agency. Although the digital visa facility will take time to fully roll out, the new decision is widely welcomed.

The era of paper is coming to an end.

Most of the Schengen countries still use the old paper system. This change will increase the workload and costs for both applicants and member countries. Visa procedures differ from one member state to the next, with the exception of some countries that are partially digitalised. The solution to all these problems lies in a secure new arrangement.

Up to seven years to change.

A digital visa sticker with an encrypted 2D barcode will also apply to long-stay visas. EU member states such as Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus, which have yet to fully implement Schengen rules, will also issue digital visas. Member States will have a grace period of up to seven years to join the online digital platform. While each country can use this facility at its own pace, most countries are now expected to go digital within a year or two.

Here are the changes…

As part of the reform, a unified EU online visa application platform will be established. The digital visa sticker and digitalisation of applications will then be implemented. Irrespective of the country of the visitor, there will be no change in the application procedures. By paying the fixed fee, one can safely apply for a visa online. The decision will also be received online.

The system provides all necessary information on the periodic procedures that Schengen short-stay visa applicants must follow, such as required supporting documents, visa fees, and appointments for biometric identifier collection, and automatically processes the related applications for the country they are applying for.

In a user-friendly Q&A format, candidates will be able to clear their doubts and get answers to their questions. For this, a chatbot system will suffice.

A bit of history…

As part of the new migration and asylum agreement, the EU Commission began the process of fully digitising the Schengen visa process in September 2020. Then, in June 2021, the Schengen Strategy announced the digitisation of visa procedures and travel documents. In addition, on April 27, 2022, the Commission submitted a legislative proposal aimed at this. Last day, the European Union announced the changes and revealed the decision.

Irish Samachar English News

Kindly click the link below to join WhatsApp group chat to get important news and breaking news from Irish Samachar.


Comments are closed.