Europe has made one of the final steps towards adopting digital visas for the Schengen area.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted to support the law on digitalization of visas, which will enable applications for Schengen visas through a single online platform. The Visa Information System (VIS) platform will require the collection of fingerprint and face biometrics for first-time applicants.

The finalization of the legislation is expected on November 12, according to sources quoted by Euractiv. Voluntary use of the application system is expected to be available from 2025, while mandatory use will likely be implemented in 2031 or 2032, the sources said.

The new, fully digital visa system is aimed at third-country nationals and residents of non-Schengen EU member states such as Bulgaria and Romania. The unified online platform will be managed by the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (EU-LISA).

The new cryptographically signed visas will also be safer and more difficult to forge, according to the EU Parliament.

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