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European Travel Commission Official Highlights Benefits of Digitalizing Schengen Visa Application Process

Teodora Marinska, serving as the Chief Operating Officer and Head of Public Affairs at the European Travel Commission, shared insights at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai regarding the forthcoming digitalization of the Schengen visa application process. Marinska's remarks underscored the considerable impact this transition will have on facilitating access to the Schengen Area for foreigners, especially considering the current challenges confronting visa applicants.

European Travel Commission Official Highlights Benefits of Digitalizing Schengen Visa Application Process

One notable challenge highlighted by Marinska is the persistent difficulty in securing appointment slots for visa applications, attributed to the overwhelming demand. She also drew attention to instances where individuals opt to apply for visas at Schengen country embassies due to perceived procedural ease and greater availability of appointments compared to their intended destination.

The impending digitalization of the visa application process is heralded by Marinska as a transformative development. She emphasized its potential to revolutionize procedures and automate appointment allocations, ultimately envisaging a seamless and user-friendly experience for visa applicants. However, she also stressed the imperative for EU authorities to ensure smooth border crossings and prevent any additional burdens on transport operators post-digitalization.

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Upon full digitalization, all facets of the Schengen visa application, excluding first-time applicants, will be conducted online through a centralized platform. This transition promises to significantly reduce costs for applicants, as physical visits to embassies or consulates will become unnecessary, with only the visa fee requiring payment.

Furthermore, the digital platform will streamline the document submission process, enabling applicants to upload electronic copies directly. While certain categories of applicants, such as those with invalid biometric data or new travel documents, may still be required to appear in person, the online process aims to minimize waiting times at consulates or visa centers.

Applicants will also enjoy the flexibility to specify their preferred member state for processing their visa application. Upon completion, applicants will receive notifications of the decision through the platform, with visas issued in a digital format bearing cryptographic signatures. This marks a significant stride towards modernizing visa processing for the Schengen Area and enhancing accessibility for travelers worldwide.



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