Technology can play an important role in improving and strengthening external borders. Over the years, the EU has developed extensive computer systems for the collection, processing, and exchange of information on the management of external borders. The Visa Information System, which supports the implementation of the EU’s standard visa policy, is an instrument.
What is VIS?
The Visa Information System (VIS) enables the Schengen States to exchange information on visas. It consists of a central computer system and a communication infrastructure linking this central system to national systems. VIS links connect third countries and all the external borders of the Schengen States. It processes data and decisions related to short-stay visa applications to visit or pass the Schengen area. The system can perform a biometric match, especially fingerprints, for identification and verification purposes.
What is the purpose of VIS?
Control of operations and issuing of visas: the VIS allows border guards to check whether a person presents a visa, identifies the rights holders, and recognizes persons in the Schengen area without papers or with misleading documents. The use of biometric data to confirm the identity of a visa holder allows for faster, more accurate and safer controls. The system also facilitates the issuance of visas, especially for frequent travelers.
Combine Abuse: While most visa holders abide by the rules, abuse can occur. For example, the VIS helps to combat and prevent misleading behavior such as “visa purchases” (ie visa applications in other EU countries if the first application is refused) .
Protecting Travelers: Biometric technology allows travelers to identify other travel documents and protect them against identity theft.
Assistance in adoption applications: the VIS facilitates the identification of the EU country responsible for examining an asylum application and the examination of these applications.
Security Enhancement: VIS helps to prevent, detect and investigate terrorist offenses and other serious crimes.
How does it work in training?
Ten people who applied for a visa collected ten fingerprints and one digital photo. The biometric data, including the data provided in the visa application form, is stored in a secure centralized database.
A 10-digit fingerprint is not required for children under 12 years of age or for those who can not physically finger scan. Frequent travelers in the Schengen area do not need to finger each time they apply for a new visa. Once registered in the VIS, they can be used for additional visa applications within 5 years.
At the external borders of the Schengen area, the fingerprints of the visa holder are comparable to those of the database. An incompatibility does not mean that entries are automatically rejected. This only leads to further verification of the identity of the traveler.
Which countries use the VIS and who manages it?
The Schengen instrument is the VIS of all Schengen States (Denmark decides to apply it). The EU for large-scale information systems, eu-LISA, is responsible for managing VIS operations.
Who can access the VIS?
Visa authorities can consult the VIS to evaluate applications and related decisions. The authorities responsible for controls at the external borders and in the territories of the countries tend to question the VIS to verify the identity of the person, the validity of the visa or the question of whether the person is eligible for admission, residence or residence reside in the national territories. .Asylum authorities only have access to a VIS to determine the EU country responsible for examining an asylum application. In some cases, national authorities and Europol may request access to data entered in the VIS to prevent, detect and investigate.
Access to VIS data is restricted to staff authorized to perform their duties. You must ensure that the use of VIS data is limited to what is required, proportional and proportionate to the performance of their duties.
The data is stored in the VIS for five years. This retention period begins on the expiry date of the visa issued, the date on which a negative decision was taken or the date on which a decision to change a given visa is taken. Everyone has the right to know their VIS data. Anyone may request that the inaccurate data concerning them be corrected and that the data be deleted illegally.
All EU countries should be bound by the national authority that regulates the legalization of the processing of personal data of the country being monitored. The European Data Protection Officer will monitor activities at European level.