Updated at 13:43,18-06-2018

Applicants for Schengen visas will have to be fingerprinted, EU official says

By Tanya Korovenkova, BelaPAN

Citizens of Belarus who apply for Schengen visas will have to be fingerprinted, Rodolphe Richard, head of the Political, Press and Information Section at the EU Delegation to Belarus, told reporters in Minsk on Monday.

On June 23, the Schengen Area’s Visa Information Service (VIS) will begin operation in the six countries involved in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program, Mr. Richard said.

The VIS is a database that allows the Schengen states to exchange data on decisions relating to short-stay visa applications, he said.

The VIS will contain both textual and biometric information, including fingerprints and digital photographs, Mr. Richard said.

He said that the introduction of the system would facilitate the visa process and would make for the efficient and swift consideration of visa applications.

Biometrics will be stored in the database for 59 months, Mr. Richard said, adding that visa applicants would have to give their fingerprints and submit digital photographs again after that period was over.

According to him, the fingerprinting requirement does not apply to children under 12 years of age, people who physically cannot be fingerprinted, monarchs, heads of state and their spouses, and members of official delegations.