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S&Ds: The time is ripe for online Schengen visas

Date

31 Jan 2023

Sections

Global Europe

In a first step to modernise the Schengen visa process, MEPs in the justice and home affairs committee have approved replacing the visa sticker with a digital visa and given the green light to a single European online platform for all Schengen visa applications.

Schengen visas, which enable travel across the passport-free Schengen area, cover 22 EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Socialists and democrats believe a modern visa process will make travel to the EU easier for tourism and business. With the S&D Group leading negotiations for the European Parliament, S&D MEP Matjaž Nemec is working to make the simplified visa procedures fairer, safer and more accessible.

Matjaž Nemec, the European Parliament’s negotiator on the digitalisation of the visa procedure, said:

“So much of what we used to do on paper we now do online; so the time is ripe for a fully digital Schengen visa.

“There are still over 100 countries in the world that need short-term visa travel for the EU, and the application procedure is not as easy as it could be. A single online platform means people will no longer be faced with an inconsistent patchwork of national practices for managing applications. Applicants will also no longer have to travel long distances to submit visa applications in-person.

“We want to guarantee that the move to a fully digital procedure is safe and accessible, so we have strengthened the Commission’s original proposals. People with disabilities and people with issues relating to digital literacy and internet access should still be able to have equal access to the Schengen visa. Applicants should also know who is responsible for protecting their data.”

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