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Business News/ News / World/  Schengen visa to go paperless soon; no more consulate visits or stickers on passports! Apply in 3 steps
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Schengen visa to go paperless soon; no more consulate visits or stickers on passports! Apply in 3 steps

EU foreign ministers have approved a digitalisation shift for Schengen visa applications, streamlining the process and removing the need for consulate appointments or visits to service providers' offices.

Schengen visa application will soon be a paperless process (REUTERS)Premium
Schengen visa application will soon be a paperless process (REUTERS)

Schengen visa application will soon be a paperless process!

EU foreign ministers recently approved a digitalisation shift for Schengen visa applications. The online platform will streamline the process, removing the necessity for consulate appointments or visits to service providers' offices.

This also means, no more physical stickers in your passports. 

The change, unveiled after a months-long legislative process, will take effect three weeks after it is published in the EU's administrative gazette, expected soon.

Speaking about the process, Spain's Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, said that the online visa system "will simplify the application process for travellers". 

How can you apply for e-visas? 

  • Once it is in place, the Schengen short-stay application process involves online document submission, including travel documents with biometric data, and fee payment. 
  • Approved applicants undergo database cross-checks, receiving a digitally signed barcode for printing or digital storage. 
  • However, first-time applicants or those with new passports or updated biometric data may still be required to attend an in-person appointment for added verification.
  • Some countries, such as Australia, already have similar systems in place, where the online visa is linked to a person's passport without the need for a sticker in it.

Some countries will need ETIAS

  • Citizens from over 60 countries, including Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, won't need Schengen visas for short visits. 
  • However, they will soon be required to apply online for pre-screened entry via the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), akin to the U.S. ESTA system. This system aims to streamline travel authorization for eligible visitors to the Schengen Area.

All visitors entering the European Union -- with visas or visa waivers plus ETIAS -- will find themselves going through an automated EU Entry/Exit System (EES), whose implementation has also been much delayed.

The Schengen area comprises 23 of the 27 EU member countries plus associated neighbours Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

 

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Published: 13 Nov 2023, 08:15 PM IST
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