VIS to start operations in four new regions

As from 15 May 2014 all Schengen States' consulates in North America, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean and Australasia start to use the Visa Information System (VIS).

The VIS is a central database for the exchange of data on short-stay (up to three months) 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.

European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, eu-LISA, is responsible for the VIS besides the two other systems - the Schengen Information System (SIS II) and EURODAC. The Agency manages VIS on behalf of its stakeholder, the European public, through Member States and European Institutions. eu-LISA performs its tasks by means of high-quality technology solutions to meet the needs of Member States most efficiently and securely for 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Introduction of VIS in four new regions will affect only those people, who are under the visa requirement. For the purpose of the VIS, applicants will be required to provide their biometric data (fingerprints and a digital photograph) when applying for a Schengen visa.  The collection of biometric data is a joint decision of the Schengen countries to protect applicants better against identity theft and prevent false identifications. Biometric data, along with the data provided in the Schengen visa application form, will be recorded in the VIS central database. The VIS central database is secure and data will be processed in accordance with the highest data protection standards of the EU.

Exemptions from the fingerprinting requirement are provided for:

  • children under the age of twelve;

  • persons for whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible;

  • Heads of State and members of the 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.

    Any person has the right to obtain communication of the data recorded in the VIS related to him/her from the Schengen State which entered the data into the system. Any person may also request that inaccurate data related to him/her be corrected and the data unlawfully recorded be deleted.