The VIS contains biographic and biometric data of persons applying for a Schengen visa. Its main objectives are to facilitate visa application procedures, checks at external borders and the exchange of data between Schengen countries on visa applications, as well as to assist in the fight against fraud and to enhance security.
As of 2nd November 2015 all visa applicants need to appear in person for the collection of the biometric data (photograph and ten fingerprints) when applying for a Schengen Visa.
For subsequent applications within 59 months, fingerprints can be re-used from the VIS file unless there is reasonable doubt regarding the identity of the applicant.
Exemptions from the fingerprinting requirement are provided for:
- Children under the age of twelve;
- (Handicapped) persons for whom the collection of fingerprints is physically permanently impossible;
- Heads of State and members of the Government, 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.