Cabinet ministers from European Union countries adopted on November 13 new rules which will allow people who plan to travel to the Schengen area to apply online for a visa, the Council of the EU said in a statement.
The Schengen area is a zone of 27 European countries which have abolished many types of internal border controls.
The two regulations adopted on November 13 will create an EU visa application platform.
With a few exceptions, applications for Schengen visas will be made through that platform.
On the platform, visa applicants will be able to enter all the relevant data, upload electronic copies of their travel documents and supporting documents, and pay their visa fees.
The regulations render in-person appearance at the consulate redundant.
In principle, in-person appearance will only be necessary for first-time applicants, people whose biometric data are no longer valid and people with a new travel document.
The regulations replace the current visa sticker with a cryptographically signed barcode.
Following signature, the two regulations will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and will enter into force on the 20th day after publication.
The date of application of the new rules will be decided when technical work on the visa platform and the digital visa has been concluded, the Council of the EU said.
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