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Going digital, Schengen Visa processing time to be improved


Muscat: The Commission of the European Union has said that the digitalization of the visa application procedure will have a significant impact on the Schengen visa processing time.

The decision will benefit a large number of applications from the Sultanate. In 2022, Schengen consulates in Oman received a total of 30,885 visa applications, of which 23,430 visas were approved, while 7.4 percent or 2,287 applications were denied visas.

The European Commission Spokesperson for Home Affairs, Anitta Hipper, told that the digitalization of the visa procedure will contribute to improving the processing time, suggesting that there will no longer be long waiting periods to receive a decision.

According to her, when the application procedure for Schengen visas goes fully online, applicants will not be required to submit physical copies of their documents, reducing the administrative burden associated with handling paper applications and putting the visa sticker.

The rules on the digitalization of the visa procedure were agreed upon by the European Parliament and the Council in an attempt to modernize, simplify, and harmonize the visa procedures for nationals of third countries applying for a visa and for the EU Member States who need to grant the visas.

As Hipper said for, digitalization will modernize two main aspects of the visa procedure.

Firstly, the EU Visa Application platform will provide applicants with a harmonized and seamless procedure, saving costs to travel to the consulate or any visa application center.

Secondly, the visa will be issued in a digital format, and it will be digitally linked to the travel document.

The Schengen Member States have been receiving a high number of visa applications post-pandemic, and the high demand has had an impact on the procedures.

Hipper said that the Commission had already called all the Member States to improve their operational capacities and address the issue by releasing more appointments.

Some Member States have said that they update the system regularly to make sure that the application process goes smoothly for everyone. They have also said that they increase the number of staff depending on the demand to ensure that all applications are being processed within a reasonable time.

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