Brussels calls for digital Schengen visas

The aim is to make the process less bureaucratic and costly for Member States and applicants, as well as to increase security in this area.

The European Commission wants the digital process of granting visas to enter the Schengen area to be fully functional by 2031, as a measure to facilitate entry into the European Union (EU) and to strengthen the security in the area of ​​free circulation.

The digitization of entry visas to the Schengen area, included in the new pact on migration and asylum, aims to make the process less bureaucratic and costly for Member States and applicants, in addition to enhancing security in this space.

Online process

According to information from the EU executive, visa applicants will thus be able to apply for entry authorization online and make payment via a single EU platform, regardless of the country of destination. The future platform will automatically determine which Schengen country is responsible for examining the visa application, especially if the application includes several countries.

The proposal will need to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, with the European Commission aiming for the future platform to start developing in 2024 and be operational in 2026, with a transition period of five years, which implies only in 2031 will it be able to be used by all Member States.

move forward as one

“Today we are bringing EU visa policy into the digital age,” said Margaritis Schinas, EU Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life. “With some member states already going digital, it is vital that the Schengen area now progresses as one,” he told a press conference.

For her part, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johnson added that “a modern visa process is crucial to facilitating travel to the EU, whether for tourism or business”. The Commissioner also stressed that “it is high time there was a fast and secure online visa application platform for citizens of 102 countries applying for short-term permits to travel to the EU. “.

The Schengen area guarantees freedom of movement in a territory that includes 26 countries (including 22 EU Member States, including Portugal) with more than 400 million citizens.

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