In-person appearance at the consulate will only be necessary for first-time Schengen Visa applicants, the Council said.
The proposal aims to introduce the possibility of applying for a Schengen visa online, replacing the current visa sticker with a digital visa. The proposal is also expected to make the Schengen visa application process more practical and improve the security of the Schengen area.
The proposed rules will create a single website where all Schengen visa applications will be made, according to a report by SchengenVisaInfo.com.
On the platform, applicants will be able to submit all relevant information, upload electronic copies of travel and supporting documents, and pay fees. The platform will also notify applicants of the decision concerning their visa application.
The digitalisation of the Schengen visa procedure is expected to reduce the number of trips to consulates and make it easier for administrators to process applications.
This will make the application process less troublesome for applicants, according to the Swedish Minister for Migration, Maria Malmer Stenergard.
“Online applications will reduce the number of trips to the consulate for travellers and make the process smoother for national administrations. At the same time, the digital visa will put an end to the risk of falsification and theft of the visa sticker,” Stenergard said.
Digital Schengen Visa
Under the new rules, all visas will be issued in a digital format, which will decrease security risks related to stolen and counterfeit visa stickers. The digitally signed visas will include a 2D barcode to verify their authenticity.
Currently, all Schengen visa applicants are required to attend an interview and submit several documents, depending on the type of visa they are applying for.
“In-person appearance at the consulate will only be necessary for first-time applicants, persons whose biometric data are no longer valid and those with a new travel document,” the Council said.
Tourist Schengen Visa applicants must submit a completed visa application form, passport, two recent photos, roundtrip reservation, proof of having booked a place to stay, proof of having purchased EU travel health insurance, and proof of financial means, among others.
Once the newly proposed rules are approved, the EU will create a visa application platform that will streamline the visa application process and improve the security of the Schengen area, the report said.