The ambassadors of EU member states have proposed a plan to make the application process for Schengen visas digital, as stated in a press release by the European Council of the European Union on Thursday. This proposal suggests the replacement of the traditional visa sticker with a digital visa and the ability to apply for a Schengen visa online.
The expected benefits of digitalizing the Schengen visa process include increased efficiency, improved security, and convenience for applicants. According to Swedish Minister for Migration, Maria Malmer Stenergard, a digital Schengen visa will simplify the application process and make the Schengen area safer by eliminating the risks associated with falsification and theft of the visa sticker.
Under the new system, all applications will be submitted through a single website, where applicants can upload their personal information and supporting documents and pay visa fees. Decisions regarding visa status will also be displayed on the same website. If a visa is approved, it will be in the form of a digitally signed 2D barcode.
The only situations in which an applicant will need to visit the consulate in person are for first-time applications, for those with invalid biometric data, and for those with new travel documents.