The Council of the European Union is developing new regulations for individuals wishing to travel to Schengen area countries. Under these new rules, individuals seeking a visa for Schengen area countries can complete their application process online via a single European platform. However, the implementation date for these new regulations has yet to be determined, as it will depend on completing the technical work required for the online platform.
For stays of up to 90 days, most Schengen visa applications can be made exclusively on the platform. Appointments at the visa center or consulate will be necessary only for first-time visa applications, individuals whose biometric data is no longer valid, and those with a new passport. A digital visa in the form of a barcode will replace the current visa sticker. Applying for a Schengen visa online will be a significant improvement, making the process more convenient and accessible.
ETIAS compulsory in 2025
Simplifying the application process for travelers will also help national administrations, enabling them to respond more quickly and effectively. Currently, 27 European countries issue Schengen visas, including 23 states of the 27 EU members plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
Around sixty countries, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and the United Kingdom, allow citizens to enter the Schengen area without obtaining a visa for short stays.
However, by mid-2025, travelers from these sixty countries must have an Etias (European Travel Information and Authorization System) travel authorization to enter the EU and the Schengen area. This authorization will cost 7 euros and will be valid for three years. The purpose of this system, which is similar to the American Esta, is to enhance scrutiny of foreign travelers within the EU and identify potential threats.
Starting at the end of 2024, third-country nationals visiting the European Union must go through a new entry and exit control system called EES. This database will collect and store information such as the date and location of entry and exit, a record of any denied entry, as well as facial photographs and fingerprints of the traveler.