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For some time now, fingerprints have been taken from all applicants applying for long-term visas (study, family reunification, commencement of employment, etc.). Starting October 12, 2015 the visa section at the German Embassy Seoul will begin collecting biometric data, that is, fingerprints, for Schengen visas as part of the Visa Information System (VIS).
The Visa Information System (VIS) is an IT system that allows Schengen States to exchange visa data. The main purpose of the VIS is to simplify the visa issuance process, facilitate checks at external borders and to enhance security for everyone involved, including applicants.
The Schengen States’ Visa Information System has been operational since 11 October 2011. A phased rollout is underway, connecting more of these states’ visa sections to the VIS at each stage.
The VIS works by linking Schengen States’ consulates and external border crossing points to the central VIS database.
The introduction of the VIS has necessitated various changes to the visa application process:
- People applying for a visa for the first time must apply in person at the German Embassy in Seoul, so that the necessary biometric data – ten fingerprints and a digital photo – can be collected. Applications can no longer be submitted via the Consulate in Busan.
- Finger scans stored in the VIS can be re‑used for further visa applications within the following five years (59 months), so these later applications can be submitted in Busan.
- When travelers enter the Schengen area, the border authorities are able to verify your identity by accessing the VIS. This will facilitate the entry clearance process.
- The addition of the “VIS” remark in your visa shows you that your biometric data was collected and stored. Your data is protected by strong data protection laws of the European Union and Germany. It is used for the purpose of your visa application and entrance clearance at Schengen borders only.
Please note that the application process (forms, fees, required documents etc.) stay unchanged. All visas issued on or before October 12, 2015 remain valid without Fingerprints.
For more information please consult the European Commission website.