On November 13, 2023, the European Union Council adopted groundbreaking rules to streamline Schengen visa applications for the 27-nation zone without internal borders.

“The possibility of applying for a Schengen visa online will be a great improvement for citizens and for the processing of the application. It will simplify the application process for travelers and, at the same time, will ease the burden on national administrations, which will be able to respond more quickly and effectively”, stated Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez, interim Spanish Minister of the Interior.

The two adopted regulations introduce a dedicated EU platform for visa applications, enabling applicants to input relevant data, upload electronic copies of documents, and pay visa fees online. This eliminates the need for in-person consulate visits, except for new applicants, cases of expired biometric data, or obtaining a new travel document.

Furthermore, the regulations replace visa vignettes with cryptographically signed barcodes, bolstering the security of the process. Once signed, these regulations will be announced and take effect 20 days after their publication.

“The date of application of the new rules will be decided upon the conclusion of technical work on the visa platform and the digital visa,” emphasizes a statement from the European Union sighted by AfrikPage.