The Swiss Federal Council announced a new digital visa format will come into force Feb. 1, 2024, to align with a new EU platform.


Key Points:

  • The government will update visa policies and national law to comply with the European Union’s new digital Schengen visa. Under the regulation, Schengen visa applications will have to be submitted on an electronic EU platform.
  • Under the new Swiss initiative, the visa format will be redefined so that visas can be issued in digital form.
  • The proposed digitalization of the visa procedure will come into force on Feb. 1, 2024. It will include amending existing policy to provide for a digital visa in the form of a barcode in addition to a paper visa sticker.

Additional Information: The European Council announced the approval for the digitalization of the Schengen visa process on Nov. 13. The online platform will simplify the application process for travelers and reduce barriers in the EU visa application process. Applicants will be able to enter all relevant data, upload electronic copies of travel documents and supporting documents, pay visa fees and replace the current visa sticker with a cryptographically signed barcode.

BAL Analysis: Swiss officials confirmed that the new digitized visa procedure will apply not only to short-stay Schengen visas but also to visas for stays exceeding 90 days, called “national visas.” The government confirmed that the future of Schengen visa applications will be digitized on an EU platform, and Switzerland will align itself with this modernization.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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