Countries worldwide are striving to enhance travel services by deploying cutting-edge technology, ensuring secure and trouble-free experiences. From biometric-enabled seamless travel experiences like digiyatra to unified visa systems, service providers are providing a variety of new-age services now. Comprehensive revamps at various levels are being undertaken as well. Below are some details that international travelers should be aware of.
Schengen visa to go digital
The Schengen visa, a unified document for travel to 27 European countries, is on the verge of going digital. The implementation steps are in their final phase. After this information became public, there has been a significant rise in visa applications. Simplifying visa procedures brings great relief to travelers. There will also be several associated changes in the visa regime.
No stickers on passports; single website for all procedures
Reports say that once the Schengen visa goes digital, the practice of affixing stickers on passports will cease. Applicants can complete all formalities through a single website, including fee remittance. Consequently, the need to travel to different offices and consulates will diminish. The capture of biometric details will help the authorities prevent unauthorized travel on a large scale.
The Gulf’s answer to Schengen visa
The proposal to introduce a unified visa for tourists to visit Gulf Cooperation Council member countries has received approval. The unified tourist visa, modeled on the Schengen visa, permits visits to the six Gulf countries. With this visa set to go live, GCC countries are planning to boost the tourism sector by linking all tourist spots. The unified visa allows visitors to tour all GCC countries without obtaining additional permits.
Digital passport or passport-less travel
The initial steps towards implementing passport-less travel have been taken at airports like Dubai, Singapore, and others. Now, many airports admit passengers through smart gates, recognizing individuals through biometric details and face recognition technology. Passport details will be stored digitally, expediting procedures, preventing illegal migration, and strengthening security. While passengers must carry a physical passport, officials will check the document if necessary. It is thought that physical passports will soon become a mere memory.