In our Spotlight on EMEA series we look at a round up of the latest developments across the EMEA regions. In this post we look at Switzerland’s proposed consultation process for moving Schengen visa applications online.
The Swiss Government met on 8 December 2023 where the Federal Council opened a consultation on the digitisation of Schengen Visas. The consultation will focus on the draft legislation required to implement the new EU regulation on Schengen visa applications.
A new EU electronic platform (still in development phases and not yet launched) will be used for submission of Schengen visa applications under the new regulation. The visas will be issued in digital form and replace the stickers and vignettes issued in paper form currently.
As part of the new submission procedure, the visa format must be redefined so that visas can be issued in digital form. At its meeting on 8 December, the Federal Council therefore also adopted an amendment to the Ordinance on Entry and the Granting of Visas (EGVO), providing for a digital visa in the form of a barcode in addition to a paper visa sticker.
Digitalisation of the visa procedure will apply not only to short-stay Schengen visas, but also to visas for stays exceeding 90 days (‘national visas’). The change is expected to come into force on 1 February 2024.
There will be some exemptions from using the EU platform, for example in special humanitarian cases or where internet access is difficult. The Federal Council will define these exemptions at ordinance level at a later date.