Third-country nationals travelling or relocating to EU experience the various visa77 application processes which is probably the stage where they have to relinquish the most personal and sensitive data about themselves, and yet it is also the point at which they have the least control over that data and how it is used by the governmental authorities. The authorities invest a lot of time, effort and financial resources to process the information according to European, national as well as intra-organizational requirements. Whether or not the responsible governmental authority decides to grant a visa is fundamentally based on the information citizens are obliged by law to provide them – which can range from information about the countries they have visited to financial and health conditions data and maybe in the future data regarding their personal health (especially nowadays where many discussions are taking place for a common vaccination passport due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis). Behind the scenes, immigration offices manage and analyse the large reserves of data from visa applicants, most of them on paper or in the best-case scenario in a digitalised form, cross-referencing it from different sources, and classifying people into profiles upon which their visa is granted or denied. Visa applications are no longer just a matter of “official documents”. In today's digital world, governments require new, technology-based data sources, ensuring the data sovereignty, integrity and authenticity which is an imperative need for the visa application process. At the same time, the foreseen digitalization inevitably leads to more exposure for the applicants, especially when third party software providers are involved in the whole process. The severity of this issue can be easily understood from the fact that EU has already started the discussions with EU member states towards a common platform78 for visa applications. Though some countries have data retention laws, most lack the necessary resources and infrastructure to enforce them or audit data collection departments and third-party technology providers. Others lack clear legal standings on data retention of foreign nationals.
TANGO will facilitate the digital transformation of immigration offices and public administration through a uniform platform that allows seamless on boarding of citizens and fast and efficient processing and sharing of personal data. In addition, through the blockchain based data sharing platform, cross border data exchange will be feasible, allowing the authorities to speed up the decision-making process on whether they should grant the visa or not. At the same time, citizens will maintain full control over their personal data shared with the respective entity, being able to enforce their GDPR rights such as data portability and revocability.