France Leads EU in Launching Digital Schengen Visas: Guidelines, Qualification Criteria, and More Insights

Starting from January 1, 2024, France has embarked on a pioneering initiative within the European Union by commencing the distribution of Digital Schengen visas. This development is a precursor to the expected total transition to digital Schengen visa processing by 2026.

With the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games set to take place in Paris from July 26 to August 11 and August 28 to September 8 respectively, the French government is gearing up to issue around 70,000 digital visas. However, due to the finite number of visas available, not all applicants will be granted this digital access.

Eligibility for the digital visas to enter France is specifically designed for two distinct categories of non-EU nationals requiring entry visas:

  1. Individuals associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Family seeking accreditation via their respective committees are eligible. This category encompasses members of the International Olympic Committee, Paralympic Committee, international federations, national committees, organizing members of the Olympic Games, national associations, athletes, judges, coaches, sports technicians, medical staff, accredited media professionals, high-ranking officials, benefactors, and sponsors.

The application process for this group is streamlined. Applicants are exempt from arranging an appointment, compiling documentation, or covering the standard Schengen Visa fees. They are only required to present at the visa center at the designated time with their passport and a valid accreditation certificate provided by the OCOG.

  1. Additionally, other official guests who have received invitations from the Olympic or Paralympic Committee (OCOG) are also eligible.

These invitees must navigate the visa application process through the France-Visas website and gather the necessary documents as outlined on the site. A crucial part of their application includes submitting an invitation letter from the OCOG. Similar to the first group, no fee is required for this category. However, providing biometrics, including fingerprints and a photo, at the visa center is compulsory for both groups, according to VisaGuide.

Regarding spectators desiring to attend the games, they are required to apply for a traditional Schengen Visa.