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MEPs adopt digital visas to boost the security of the Schengen area

19 октомври 2023 08:46, Людмила Калъпчиева
Излъчване: Туида Нюз преди 9 месеца, брой четения: 386
European Parliament

Visas to become more secure, harder to forge

MEPs pushed for inclusivity and accessibility regardless of disability, language skills or poor internet coverage

On Wednesday, MEPs voted on a new law to digitalise Schengen visas, which will make them more secure and accessible.

 

Following an agreement with the Council in June, the Parliament has approved digitalised visa procedures for the Schengen free-movement area with 573 votes in favour, 36 against, and 16 abstentions (digitalisation of the visa procedure) and 548 votes in favour, 37 against, and 9 abstentions (the visa sticker regulation).

 

By digitalising the visa application process, the laws aim will reduce the costs and efforts required to make an application, while ensuring harmonious practises throughout Europe and improving its security. Visa applications would be processed on a single online platform that would also tell applicants which country will receive their application (in the case of multi-country trips). The new cryptographically signed visas are also safer and more difficult to forge.

 

In negotiations with the Council, MEPs ensured that the new system is accessible to everyone, regardless of language issues, disabilities or poor internet coverage.

 

Background

 

After the launch of the Visa Information System (VIS) and other databases in the field of justice and home affairs, parts of the visa procedure in the EU have been digitalised, but the visa applications and stickers given to successful applicants remain in analogue form. The latest revision of the EU’s Visa Code explicitly provided for a possibility to sign applications electronically, paving the way for a fully-digitised visa application procedure.

 

By adopting the legislation, MEPs are responding to citizen’s wishes, as expressed in the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe, of improving digital access to public services (proposal 31(6)).

 

Quote

 

In the debate ahead of the vote, rapporteur Matjaž Nemec (S&D, SI) said: ”Europe is currently lagging behind our peers in digital visa procedures. With this reform, we will catch up, and the whole process will become cheaper and easier for applicants. It will also make it harder to abuse the system, making the process safer. This single EU visa on a unified platform will be a building block for Europe as a single geographical entity.“

 

Next steps

 

Once the Council has also formally adopted it, the act can be published in the Official Journal of the EU. It will enter into force on the twentieth day after publication.