1.9 What is the Visa Information System (VIS)?

As of the 20th November 2015, all over the world, Schengen Member States are linked to the Visa Information System (VIS). The VIS stores the biometric data (10 fingerprints and the facial image) of visa applicants for 5 years. Therefore, personal appearance of all applicants for a Schengen visa is mandatory, except for:

  • children under the aged of 12
  • persons for whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible
  • heads of States and members of the Nations Governments with accompanying spouses and the members of their official delegations when they are invited by Member States’ Governments or by International Organizations for an official purpose, sovereigns and other senior members of royal families when they are invited by Members States’ Governments or by International Organizations for an official purpose.

Once your biometric data have been captured and once your Schengen visa has been issued, either bearing the mention ‘VIS’ or issued post October 2015, your personal appearance won’t be needed within a period of 59 months. The copy of this visa sticker will be requested for any new visa application without personal appearance, as following visas will use the stored biometric data.

Applicants will have the choice to either appear personally or to be represented by an authorized third party:

  • accredited agency
  • authorized third party in possession of: his/her personal ID and authorization letter from the applicant.

However, please note that if biometric data reveals non-compliant, personal appearance will be requested.