As Schengen visa goes digital, expect these changes after implementation

Post-digitization, the applicants’ visits to the consulates or visa offices will be made minimal. Representative image/iStock/anyaberkut

The member states of the European Union recently struck a deal to digitize the procedure to issue the Schengen visa. It is expected that the move will make the whole visa process smoother and usher in more safety for the travellers, once implemented.

Post-digitization, the applicants’ visits to the consulates or visa offices will be made minimal and the practice of pasting visa stickers on the passports will be done away with. It is also expected that the decision will eliminate tampering and theft of visa stickers.

Once the digitization process is put in place, the travellers can apply online for the Schengen visa. But first-time applicants and travellers whose biometric data are invalid should make in-person appearance at the visa offices or consulates. Others can submit online the requisite details and documents. The visa processing fees can also be paid by taking the online route.

If an applicant is travelling to more than one Schengen country, the consulate through which the visa should be applied will be picked, that too by the online platform, on the basis of information regarding in which country the traveller stays longer. While applying for visa, there is an option to choose the consulate through which the application should be submitted. The travellers having Schengen visa can visit all the European Union countries except Cyprus, Ireland, Bulgaria and Romania.

Many countries including Australia have shifted to digital visas. The online visa is linked with the passport and there is no need to paste visa stickers on passports.  

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