Planning to visit a Schengen country? Effective 6 June 2013, Schengen member states will start collecting fingerprints for visa applications, requiring applicants to appear in person to apply for their visas.

The biometric data of the visa applicants (10 fingerprints) will be taken at all application centres (embassies as well as visa application centres). For subsequent applications within five years, fingerprints can be re-used from the VIS file unless there is reasonable doubt regarding the identity of the applicant.

When the visa holder arrives at the border, the authorities have access to the VIS to verify the holder’s identity and the authenticity of the visa.

Categories of applicants exempt from the requirement to give fingerprints:
• Children under the age of 12 • Persons for whom fingerprinting is physically impossible • Heads of states and members of their official delegation when invited for official purposes.

Couriers can be sent to collect the passports.

Always remember to check specific visa requirements with the relevant country embassy before travelling as visa requirements are subject to change at any time.