Indian passport holders will be able to obtain a Schengen visa to visit any of the 26 Schengen Area member nations, including France, Germany, and Italy, in around four years, as the European Union’s Commission works to digitize the Schengen visa application process.
The Commission has revealed its plans, stating that by 2026, it will establish a platform that will allow nationals of third-country Schengen visa-free regimes, including Indians, to apply fully online, including paying the visa charge and submitting the papers. In response to the plan, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson stated that half of the individuals arriving in Europe with a Schengen visa feel the visa application is cumbersome, and that more than 30% must travel great distances to apply for such a visa.
“It is past time for the EU to create a quick, safe, and web-based EU visa application platform for citizens of the 102 third-country countries that require short-term visas to travel to the EU,” said the Commissioner.
According to the Commission, the existing process for acquiring a Schengen visa is lengthy and mainly paper-based, and applicants must travel to submit and receive their passport with a visa, which can be quite costly and time-consuming. Indian nationals are subject to the same procedures and must frequently travel vast distances in order to apply for a Schengen visa, which is not always granted.
According to SchegnenVisaInfo.com, prior to the outbreak, Indian nationals filed 1,141,705 Schengen visa applications in 2019, accounting for 6.7% of all visa applications lodged in the same year. At the same time, India was the third most populous country in terms of Schengen visa applications filed on its territory, after only Russia (4,133,100) and China (2,971,032).
Once the online visa application platform is fully operational, Indian passport holders will be able to fill out the application form and submit their scanned passports and other relevant papers. They will have to visit the diplomatic facilities to submit their biometrics – photographs, and fingerprints – but only once every 59 months.
The visa will no longer be issued in the form of a sticker, but rather “in the form of a 2D barcode, cryptographically certified by the issuing Member State’s Country Signing Certificate Authority (CSCA).” The platform is especially beneficial to people who require a visa to transit the Czech Republic, Germany, France, or Spain on their way to a non-Schengen country such as the United Kingdom.
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