Digital visa for athletes to be issued for Paris Games



France will issue around 70,000 visas completely online to athletes, journalists, and delegations for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, making it the first European Union member state to offer a fully digital application procedure for a Schengen visa.

On Monday, France began implementing its new Olympic Consulate system, to process digital applications for the Summer Games, according to a report on the SchengenVisaInfo website.

The initiative for Olympic and Paralympic participants aims to streamline the visa application process and prevent any confusion with the large number of files currently being processed at French visa centers worldwide.

The report cited the France Ministry of the Interior as stating” (the system) is indeed necessary to guarantee the issuance of visas within timeframes compatible with the successful organization of the Games”.

The 70,000 visiting France to take part in the Olympic and Paralympic Games will not have their visas affixed to their passports, but will have them integrated directly into their Games accreditation cards.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games in France are scheduled to take place from July 26 to Aug 11 and Aug 28 to Sept 8, respectively, with the country anticipating that approximately 1.5 million visitors from around the globe will attend.

New EU rules on digital visa applications aim to reduce the costs involved, and streamline the procedure. All applications will be processed through a single online platform that will inform applicants about the specific country that will handle their application.

In the case of France, applications will be submitted and processed online through the France-Visas platform, making it the first EU country to fully digitalize visa processing, in accordance with the EU Schengen visa digitalization plans approved by the EU’s Parliament in October.

A Schengen visa allows travelers to visit and move freely within the Schengen Area, which is a group of 26 European countries that have abolished internal border controls. With a Schengen visa, individuals can travel between these countries without the need for multiple visas or passport checks at each border.

According to the EU, it is commonly used for tourism, business, or family visits within the Schengen Area, and is typically issued for a specific duration.

Games organizers have previously sought to delay the launch of the EU’s separate Entry/Exit System, or EES, due to concerns about potential border chaos in the summer.

The EES is expected to launch in late 2024, and is designed to provide accurate information on the duration of stay for non-EU visitors.