The European Union is gearing up for the digitalization of the Schengen visa application process, allowing applicants to submit requests through a dedicated electronic platform. This shift comes following an amendment adopted by the foreign ministers of the 27 EU member states on November 13.
The move aims to simplify procedures, eliminate the need for physical visa stickers on passports, and reduce reliance on consulates or visa application centers.
The Schengen area, comprising 23 of the 27 EU member states along with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, receives a substantial number of visa applications from Moroccans, ranking Morocco as the fifth-highest globally in visa demand after Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia. However, Morocco faces a relatively high rejection rate compared to these countries.
This transition to a digital platform is expected to eradicate the necessity of securing appointments at consulates or offices providing visa services. It addresses concerns raised within Morocco regarding the challenges associated with intermediaries and appointment scheduling delays. The legislative process within EU bodies is complete, and the technical work on the visa platform is anticipated to take several months before its publication in the EU’s official gazette.
Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, holding the rotating EU presidency, emphasized that the electronic visa system would streamline the application process for travelers, enabling document uploads, biometric data submission, and fee payments. Upon approval, applicants will receive an encrypted code for printing or storing on their devices.
The digitalization move represents a significant transformation in the application process, enhancing efficiency and accessibility for those seeking short-term travel visas within the Schengen area.