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In a significant move towards modernizing the visa application process, the European Council has given its approval to new regulations that will allow individuals planning to travel to the Schengen area to apply for visas online, according to a report by Wego.

Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez, the acting Spanish Minister for the Interior, hailed the new rules as a major improvement for both citizens and the application process. He stated, “The online application for a Schengen visa will not only simplify the process for travelers but also alleviate the workload on national administrations, enabling them to respond more swiftly and effectively.”

The newly adopted regulations include:

  • the establishment of an EU visa application platform. This platform will serve as the primary portal for Schengen visa applications, allowing applicants to input all necessary information, upload electronic copies of travel documents and supporting materials, and pay their visa fees
  • a reduction in the requirement for in-person consulate visits. Going forward, in-person appearances will generally only be necessary for first-time applicants, individuals with expired biometric data, and those with new travel documents
  • the current visa sticker will be replaced with a cryptographically signed barcode

Following their signature, these regulations will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and take effect on the twentieth day after publication. The specific date of application for these new rules will be determined once the technical work has been completed.

This development marks a significant stride in simplifying and modernizing the Schengen visa application process, promising a more convenient and secure experience for travelers and authorities.

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