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EU Adopts Digital Schengen Visas

Published on : October 24, 2023

The Parliament of the European Union has formally adopted digital visas for the Schengen Area. A deal was reached on the regulation by the EU institutions in June 2023. The new Schengen system will replace analog visa stickers with digital ones.                                                             

On October 18, 2023, Members of the EU Parliament (MEPs) voted on a law for the digitalization of Schengen visas. Digital visa procedures were approved with 573 votes in favour, 36 against, and 16 abstentions. With digitalization, Schengen visas will be more secure as well as more accessible in the near future.

As per the new Schengen visa law, Schengen visa applications will be processed on a single online platform. Applicants will come to know as to which Schengen member state will receive their application if they are travelling to more than one Schengen country in the EU.                 

The new digital Schengen visas will be cryptographically signed and issued in a 2D barcode digital format.  

What are the benefits of the digitalization of Schengen visas?

By digitalizing the Schengen visa application process, Schengen visas will -

  • Be more secure and accessible,
  • Have reduced costs,
  • Require less effort to file an application,
  • Involve harmonious practices throughout the EU, and
  • Become more difficult to forge.

With the application process safer, the complete Schengen visa application process will be easier and cheaper for all nationals of third countries.

In the near future, application for Schengen visas can be made through a single online platform. First-time applicants will be required to submit their biometrics to the Schengen Visa Information System (VIS).

The finalization of the legislation is expected on November 12, 2023. The voluntary use of the application system is expected to be available from 2025. Mandatory use of the fully digital visa system for Schengen visa applications is likely to be implemented in 2031.

What is a Schengen visa?

An official document issued by a Schengen state, a Schengen visa permits the visa holder to enter the Schengen Area for a short stay or transiting to an onward destination.

Which countries issue Schengen visas?

27 countries issue Schengen visas. Of these, 23 are in the European Union. There are 4 other countries in Europe that are not a part of the EU but issue Schengen visas.

Countries that Issue Schengen Visas

EU countries that issue Schengen Visas

1. Austria

2. Belgium

3. Croatia

4. Czech Republic

5. Denmark

6. Estonia

7. Finland

8. France

9. Germany

10. Greece

11. Hungary

12. Italy

13. Latvia

14. Lithuania

15. Luxembourg

16. Malta

17. Netherlands

18. Poland

19. Portugal

20. Slovakia

21. Slovenia

22. Spain

23. Sweden


Non- EU countries issuing Schengen visas

24. Iceland

25. Liechtenstein

26. Norway

27. Switzerland



Which EU countries do not issue Schengen Visas?

There are 4 countries in the EU that don’t issue Schengen visas. These are -

  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Ireland
  • Romania

For more details on the Schengen visa process, get in touch today.

Topics: Canada




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