Indian passport holders will be able to apply for a Schengen visa online in around four years to visit any of the 26 Schengen Area member nations, including France, Germany, and Italy, as the European Union’s Commission works to digitise the Schengen visa application process.
The Commission has revealed its plans, stating that by 2026, it will launch a platform that will allow nationals of third countries under the Schengen visa-free regime, including Indians, to apply completely online, including paying the visa charge and submitting documents.
Ylva Johansson, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, commented on the initiative, saying that half of the individuals arriving in Europe on a Schengen visa say the visa application is cumbersome, and that over 30 per cent must travel great distances to apply for one.
“It is high time that the EU provides a quick, safe, and web-based EU visa application platform for the citizens of the 102 third countries that require short-term visas to travel to the EU,” the Commissioner said.
The Commission has also asserted that the current process for obtaining a Schengen visa is lengthy and heavily paper-based, and the applicants have to travel to submit and collect their passport with a visa afterward, which can be quite costly and tiresome.
Indian nationals are also subject to the same procedures and often have to travel long distances in order to submit an application for a Schengen visa, which is not always approved.
According to SchegnenVisaInfo.com, Indian nationals filed 1,141,705 Schengen visa applications in 2019, accounting for 6.7 per cent of the total number of visa applications submitted in the same year. At the same time, India was the third-most-popular destination for Schengen visa applications, trailing only Russia (4,133,100) and China (4,133,100). (2,971,032).
Once the platform for online visa applications goes fully into effect, Indian passport holders will be able to complete the application form on this platform and upload their scanned passport and other required documents. They will have to go over to the embassy facilities to submit their biometrics – photography and fingerprints – however, they will have to do that only once for 59 months.
The visa will also no longer be issued in the form of a sticker, but rather “in the form of a 2D barcode, cryptographically signed by the Country Signing Certificate Authority (CSCA) of the issuing Member State.”
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.
Source: Schengen Visa Info