The European Union Commission said the digitalization of visa application procedures will have a significant impact on Schengen visa processing times.
European Commission Home Affairs Spokesperson Anitta Hipper told SchengenVisaInfo.com that digitizing visa procedures will help improve processing times, suggesting there will no longer be long delays waiting to receive decisions. .
According to her, when the Schengen visa application procedure is completely online, applicants will no longer have to submit copies of documents, reducing the administrative burden related to processing paper applications and visa labeling.
Anitta Hipper said, “The digitalisation of the visa procedure means that Member States will process digital applications and issue visas digitally. This will reduce the administrative burden associated with handling paper applications, visa stickers and contribute to improving the processing time.”
Regulations on digitalization of visa procedures have been agreed by the European Parliament and the Council with the aim of modernizing, simplifying and harmonizing visa procedures for third-country nationals applying for them. visas and for EU member states that must issue visas.
As Hipper told SchengenVisaInfo.com, digitalization will modernize two key aspects of the visa procedure.
Firstly, as Hipper explains, the EU visa platform will provide applicants with a harmonized and transparent procedure, reducing the cost of traveling to the consulate or any visa application centre.
Second, visas will be issued in digital form and will be digitally linked to travel documents.
Anitta Hipper said, “This means that visa applicants do not have to leave their travel document at the consulate or Visa Application Centre to add a visa sticker, plus no costs to get the travel document back.”
However, Hipper noted that several factors come into play when processing Schengen visa applications.
The Schengen Member States have been receiving a high number of visa applications post-pandemic, and the high demand has had an impact on the procedures.
Delays have been especially felt during the holiday period, and for this reason, Hipper said that the Commission had already called all the Member States to improve their operational capacities and address the issue by releasing more appointments.
Some Member States have said that they update the system regularly in order to make sure that the application process goes smoothly for everyone. They have also said that they increase the number of staff depending on the demand to ensure that all applications are being processed within a reasonable time.