Launch of the Schengen Visa Information System
09.10.2013 / 09:27
Holders of all types of passport have to provide their fingerprints while submitting their visa application at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Jakarta. The new practice comes with the Visa Information System (VIS), introduced gradually by all Schengen states worldwide.
The VIS entails the digitalised exchange of data among the Schengen states related to issuance of Schengen visas, and is based on a central database. The VIS will facilitate visa application procedures and checks at external borders, and will enhance security.
Visa applicants’ biometric data (fingerprints and a digital photograph) will be registered in the VIS, so as to better protect visa applicants against identity theft and prevent false identifications, which in certain cases has led to the refusal of a visa or entry to a person who had been entitled to enter.
The procedure of taking the biometric identifiers is quick, simple and discreet. Fingerprints stored it the VIS database can be used for new applications during a five-year period.
Exemptions from the obligation of fingerprinting are provided for:
- children under the age of 12;
- persons for whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible;
- Heads of State and members of national Governments, with accompanying spouses, and the members of their official delegation when they are invited by Member States' governments or by international organisations for an official purpose;
- Sovereigns and other senior members of royal family, when they are invited by Member States' governments or by international organisations for an official purpose.
The VIS central database is secure and data are processed in accordance with the highest data protection standards.
"Schengen states" are most EU States, except for Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom, together with non-EU States Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, constituting a border-free area. Holder of a Schengen visa can enter the Schengen Area of 26 states.