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New EU survey shows Europeans are favourable to the digitalisation of travel documents

The Special Eurobarometer 536 report on the digitalisation of travel documents and the facilitation of travel is out. Conducted in all 27 Member States, the survey presents a snapshot of EU citizens’ travel habits, their past experiences and future travel expectations. Overall, 68% of Europeans favour the use of digital travel documents for extra-Schengen travel, while 66% prefer having one single application for the use of digital travel documents at EU level, rather than one for each country.

Citizens’ attitudes towards Digital Travel Credentials (DTCs)

Over two thirds of Europeans (68%) hold a positive opinion about digital travel documents. These are largely associated with shorter waiting times at border controls according to 58% of survey respondents. More convenient travel procedures (44%) and smoother international travel (43%) are also listed as some of the main advantages of digitalising travel documents.

Moreover, among the 26,358 respondents surveyed, 66% stated that they prefer having one single digital document application at EU level, rather than one for each country of the Schengen area – an option preferred by 23% of the survey takers.

Preparedness to switch to digital travel documents

A vast majority of Europeans (80%) report that they own a mobile device fit to support digital travel documentation, and more specifically downloads of relevant applications, filling out administrative forms, and checking in online.

As for the digital skills required, the survey shows Europeans are ready to use digital travel documentation. Downloading a free application from an app store and following instructions to take a photo of oneself or of a travel document were qualified as “easy.” Using support tools, like online tutorials and chatbots, and using an Automated Border Control gate with an ePassport might be slightly more challenging, but still within reach of the average user.

Full visual showing displaying the main findings of the survey on a blue background

EU citizens’ travel habits and expectations

Over four in ten (43%) Europeans have crossed the external borders of the Schengen area within the past 5 years, while another 27% travel at least once a year to or outside the area. The main reason for travelling outside Schengen is tourism (74%). Visiting family and friends account for 15% of European’s travels, and business trips, professional or training visits, as well as attending conferences account for 7%.

Regarding their travel expectations, 66% of EU citizens say they intend to travel to or outside the Schengen area in the future, with 9% intending to do so more than twice a year and 27% at least once. According to the survey’s findings, Europeans’ aspirations for smoother travelling concern trips outside Schengen to a large extent (48%).        


The EU’s role in shaping travel legislation

At a time when the number of international travellers has increased massively, and border crossings have evolved under the imperatives of security and travel facilitation, the role of the EU in shaping travel legislation and border crossing systems has become ever more central. Carried out from 10 May to 5 June 2023, the Eurobarometer survey aims to inform the impact assessment of the upcoming Commission proposal on the digitalisation of travel documents and facilitation of travel.

Link:, dated September 28, 2023 12:41 pm

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