As part of the worldwide introduction of the Visa Information System (VIS) , the Schengen States will launch the VIS in India (and in the neighbouring countries ) on 2 November 2015. Since October 2011, the VIS has been functioning in seventeen (out of 23) world regions . All Schengen consulates worldwide will be connected to VIS by the end of November 2015.
The purpose of this global VIS introduction process is to better protect applicants against identity theft and to prevent document fraud and so-called “visa shopping”. Fingerprints are widely used within the EU as a more secure means of identification. The use of biometric data for identification purposes of a visa holder is a faster and more accurate way to identify a visa holder by border police.
As from 2 November 2015, Indian citizens requesting a Schengen visa will have to appear in person in order to provide biometric data (fingerprints and digital photography). This concerns the applications for the short-term Schengen visas (max. 90 days in 180 days). For subsequent applications within next 5 years the biometric data will be copied from the previous visa application included in the VIS .
Apart from that, there will be no change in current procedures such as visa fee or forms. However, the applicants should be aware that due to provisions of biometric data, which might cause at the beginning some disruptions, the first visit to their respective Schengen State Consulate after 2 November 2015 might take a little bit longer.
Exemptions from the obligation of fingerprinting are provided for the following categories of applicants only:
- Children under 12,
- Persons for whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible;
- Sovereigns and other senior members of a royal family, Heads of State and members of the national Governments (with their official delegations and spouses) if they travel for official purposes.
Visa Information System (VIS)
1 The Visa Information System (VIS) is a system for the exchange of data on short-stay visas between Schengen States. The main objectives of the VIS are to facilitate visa application procedures and checks at external border as well as to enhance security.
2 Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri-Lanka
3 It has been already introduced in Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, Australasia, South-East Asia, Central Asia, Western Balkans, Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus Region as well as East Asia.
4 However in some cases, such as reasonable doubts regarding the identity of the applicant, the consulates will still have to collect fingerprints within this period of time.