European Parliament Advances Digital Visa Adoption
The European Parliament is advancing digital visas for the Schengen area, enabling online applications via the Visa Information System with biometrics which the Legislation is expected to be finalized by November 12, starting voluntary use in 2025 and potentially mandatory adoption by 2031/2032
The European Parliament has taken a significant step toward adopting digital visas for the Schengen area. They voted to support a law that paves the way for a single online platform to process Schengen visa applications. This platform, called the Visa Information System (VIS), will require first-time applicants to provide fingerprint and face biometrics.
The final legislation is expected to be completed by November 12, according to sources from Euractiv. The voluntary use of this system is set to begin in 2025, with mandatory use likely to be enforced in 2031 or 2032.
This new digital visa system primarily targets third-country nationals and residents of non-Schengen EU member states like Bulgaria and Romania. The European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice (EU-LISA) will manage the unified online platform.
As per the EU Parliament, the new digital visas will be cryptographically signed, making them more secure and harder to forge.
Matjaž Nemec, the EU Parliament rapporteur responsible for the proposal, emphasized that Europe is currently behind in digital visa procedures and that this reform will help the region catch up. It will also make the visa application process more cost-effective and convenient for applicants while enhancing security and reducing abuse.
This decision follows an agreement reached by EU institutions in June, and the new digital system will replace the current analog visa stickers with digital ones. Applicants will still be able to submit paper applications if they encounter issues with the online platform.
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1. What is the European Parliament's plan regarding digital visas for the Schengen area?
The European Parliament is advancing digital visas for the Schengen area, allowing online applications with biometrics. The legislation is expected to be finalized by November 12, with voluntary use starting in 2025 and potential mandatory adoption by 2031/2032.
2. How will the Visa Information System (VIS) enhance Schengen visa applications?
VIS, a single online platform, will require first-time applicants to provide fingerprint and face biometrics, improving security. The digital visas will be cryptographically signed, making them more secure and harder to forge.