UAE residents looking to travel to Schengen countries will soon be able to skip the long waiting time, queues, and submission of passports for visa processing.
The European Union (EU) is taking a progressive measure towards digitalizing the visa procedure, which will accelerate the application process for UAE residents.
The Ambassadors of EU member states have approved a proposal that will enable UAE residents to apply for a visa online and replace the current visa sticker with a digital visa.
Travelers and Operators Welcome the Digital Move
The proposal to digitize the visa application process has received a positive response from travelers and tour operators. They are optimistic that this move will help promote Europe as a preferred destination.
For tourists, applying for visas online will be a massive improvement, as getting appointments for visa applications can often be challenging, especially during vacations and Eid breaks when UAE residents face delays due to high demand.
Additionally, having to submit their passports to agencies and waiting for visa stamps can be an inconvenience. Therefore, this digital move will undoubtedly be a game-changer for travelers.
Digital Visa Application Platform
Under the new proposal, a visa application platform will be developed, allowing all applications for Schengen visas to be registered through a single website. The website will forward the applications to the relevant national visa systems.
Visa applicants will be able to provide all the necessary information, including electronic copies of their travel and supporting documents, and pay their visa fees. They will also be able to track their visa application status.
In-Person Appearance at the Consulate Only for Specific Cases
Following the enactment of new rules, individuals will only be required to appear in person at the consulate if they are first-time applicants, have invalid biometric data, or possess a new travel document.
Moreover, if a person is planning to visit multiple Schengen countries, the platform will automatically determine which country is responsible for examining their application based on the length of their stay.
Digital Format of Visas for Better Security
The new rules reveal that visas will be issued in a digital format, with a 2D barcode that is cryptographically signed. This move intends to reduce the risks of counterfeiting and theft of the visa sticker, which will bring an end to these issues. The new digital visa format is more secure and will help to maintain the integrity of the Schengen region.