By Peregrine

On 14 September 2015, the European Union Visa Information System (VIS), which requires all Schengen visa applicants to register their biometric data, was expanded to Russia.

From 12 October 2015, the VIS will also start operating in China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan. On 2 November 2015, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will come online

What is the VIS?

  • The European Union Visa Information System is a database, established in 2004, which contains information on visa applications by non-EU nationals for visas to enter the Schengen area, as well as the decisions taken by any Schengen state’s consulate.
    When applying for a Schengen visa for the first time after the VIS has been implemented in a country, all applicants will have to appear in person at a consulate or external service provider to be fingerprinted and photographed.
  • This biometric data, along with the information applicants provide on the visa application form, will be stored in the VIS database and stored for five years. Frequent travellers will only have to complete the procedure once within this period, as the fingerprints will be copied from the previous application file in the VIS.
  • Exemptions from the fingerprinting requirement are provided for a limited number of applicants, including children under the age of twelve.
    The gradual worldwide deployment of the VIS began in 2011.

Action Items
Applicants for Schengen visas in Russia must now attend the consulate in person and provide fingerprints and a photograph.