Members of the European Parliament Accept Plan to Digitize Visa Procedures

Published on: 31 January 2023

Today, January 31st, 2023, members of the European Parliament voted to adopt the European Commission’s proposal on digitizing visa procedures.

The vote ended with 34 votes in favor, 5 against, and 20 abstaining. Therefore, if the decision is confirmed by the EU Commission and the EU Council, physical applications for Schengen visas will no longer be required, given that there will be a single online platform to process the applications.

The platform will also inform travelers which country will receive their visa application if they need to enter multiple countries in the Schengen area.

The European Parliament has also taken into consideration the needs of those who may have limited digital skills or disabilities. MEPs have requested amendments to the European Commission’s proposal in order to make the platform accessible for all kinds of users.

The platform will support multiple languages and repeated IP addresses in order to prevent unnecessary visa application rejections for applicants from regions with limited internet connectivity who share an IP.

The issuance of digital visas will reduce the security risks posed by physical stickers and avoid costs and efforts derived from physical applications.

After the vote, rapporteur Matjaž Nemec explained: “We want to deliver a modern, user-friendly digital solution for EU visa applications, along with simplified application procedures. Replacing the visa sticker with a digital visa would also reduce security risks posed by physical stickers, and a unified system would help people see the EU as a single geographical entity. In my report, I have sought to ensure the new system is even more applicant-friendly, by removing barriers stemming from language, disability status, lack of digital skills or poor internet connectivity, and to ensure that applicants’ data is more secure by introducing additional processing safeguards.”

The EU’s Visa Code has recently been updated to include electronic signatures in visa applications. In order to fully digitize the visa application process, there must be no objections in the European Parliament plenary session. Only then, legislation and further details can then be discussed and implemented.

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