Czech Republic Launches ELVIS for Schengen Visas

Czech Republic Launches ELVIS for Schengen Visas

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs is launching a new Electronic Visa Information System (ELVIS) to digitize and simplify the Schengen visa application process.

The project aims to reduce administrative burdens for both applicants and embassy staff.

Modernizing visa applications

ELVIS is an initiative by the Czech government to modernize the visa application system.

It will allow applicants to complete procedures online and help Czech embassies process applications more efficiently.

The new system is being built with the latest IT technologies. It will adhere to strict data protection standards and cybersecurity requirements to safeguard sensitive information.

Reasons behind the ELVIS launch

The Czech Republic is introducing ELVIS for several reasons:

  1. To streamline the entire visa process and reduce administrative work for embassy staff and applicants.

  2. To meet EU requirements for incorporating new IT elements into visa issuance and entry systems.

  3. To address findings from Schengen evaluations of Czech diplomatic missions abroad.

The project is co-financed by the European Union (EU) under the Operational Programme for Financial Support Instruments for Border Management and Visa Policy.

It will run from May 1st, 2024 to December 31st, 2026.

Czech Republic a major Schengen visa processor

The Czech Republic is the 13th largest recipient of Schengen visa applications, processing a significant number each year.

In 2023, Czechia received 138,840 Schengen visa applications and processed 138,276 of them.

Of the processed applications, 114,058 were approved while 24,218 were rejected.

The top applicants for Czech visas in 2023 were Turkish, Saudi, Indian, and Kazakh nationals.

Smooth sailing for Schengen travelers

ELVIS will make life easier for those visiting the Czech Republic with a Schengen visa. The streamlined process means less hassle and faster approvals.

However, it will not affect the upcoming European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), set to launch in mid-2025. ETIAS is a separate pre-travel screening for visa-exempt travelers to boost Schengen security.

For long-term travelers like students or digital nomads, ELVIS could simplify the initial visa process. However, it will not impact other aspects of their stay.

A European trend

The Czech Republic’s ELVIS project aligns with broader EU efforts to modernize border management. 

Many member states like Finland are digitizing visa systems to enhance security and efficiency.

While ELVIS focuses on Schengen visas, it reflects a wider trend in EU immigration policy. Countries are investing in technology to streamline processes and meet evolving needs.

As the EU prepares to introduce ETIAS, initiatives like ELVIS showcase the ongoing work to balance welcoming visitors with ensuring public safety.

Harmonizing visa procedures

The launch of ELVIS demonstrates the Czech Republic’s commitment to improving its visa system. 

By digitizing and streamlining the process, the country hopes to benefit both visa applicants and diplomatic staff while meeting EU standards for border management.