As per a new proposal by the European Union Commission, citizens of 102 third countries will be able to apply & pay for their Schengen visa online. This will be done through a common EU platform, paving the way for a safer and faster visa application.
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The portal will enable automatic determination of the country once an application is received on a common application platform. After this, the platform will also provide the latest entry requirements and updates on that country's short-stay visa.
The applicants can easily get all the visa requirements and necessary information in one place.
Once all these steps are digitised, applicants will not be required to visit consulates or embassies for the application.
However, the following people will be required to visit the consular:
The entire process will have state-of-the-art security features and ensure the protection of applicants' fundamental rights.
The New Pact on Migration and Asylum is set to completely digitise the entire visa procedure by 2025. This will also reduce a lot of burden and costs on the Schengen Member States as well as the applicants.
This unified visa application process will also combat a number of issues faced during the application. Security risks common with physical visa stickers are expected to reduce thanks to the entire digital process.
It will also help avoid 'visa shopping', where applicants apply to countries offering faster visa processing instead of the country they actually want to visit.
The procedure is yet to be discussed by the Council as well as the Parliament, after which the member states can shift to the online platform in the next five years.