Travellers can now look forward to the Schengen Area’s digital visa coming online in 2026 after last week’s announcement that it had received the green light.
Along with the EU Council approving the digitalisation of Schengen visa applications on November 13, it is also doing away with in-person visa appointments at consulates, and passport stickers will be replaced with cryptographically signed barcodes that are deemed safer.
As per the EU Regulation on the Digitalisation of the Visa Procedure, “In 2026, the EU visa application platform and the digital visa would coexist. After the end of the transition period (end 2028), all visa applications would be lodged online through the EU visa application platform (except a few exceptional cases for which a paper procedure would remain possible),” reports SchengenVisaInfo.
While travellers who have applied for a Schengen visa in the past can now have their application processed online, those who are either applying for the first time, have a new travel document, or expired biometric data, will need to appear in-person for visa appointments.
It is estimated that between 22 and 25 million visa applications will be processed through the new platform by the time it launches.
“This is without a doubt a revolution in the sector of EU visa applications, which will completely reshape travellers’ experience on getting a Schengen visa, making it not only less expensive, but also less time and energy consuming, and thus less stressful. The platform will also eliminate the possibility of rejection for applying at the wrong embassy,” comments Besart Bajrami, founder of SchengenVisaInfo and VisaGuide.World.