Rollout of the Schengen Visa Information System in Turkey

Starting from 25 September 2014, all Schengen States' consulates in Turkey will use the Visa Information System (VIS).

VIS is a technical corollary to the etablishment of a common area of Freedom, Security and Justice in the European Union and free movement of persons in the Schengen area.

The introduction of VIS in Turkey and the Western Balkans on 25 September 2014 follows its earlier successful progressive deployment by sucessive waves in the world since October 2011, lastly in May 2014 in Central and North America, the Caribbean and Australasia.

VIS is a central database for the exchange of data on short-stay (up to 3 months) visas between authorities of the Schengen States. VIS will streamline visa application procedures and checks at external borders of the Schengen area.

Applicants will be required to provide their biometric data (fingerprints and a digital photograph) when applying for a Schengen visa. It is a simple and discreet procedure that only takes a few minutes. For subsequent visa applications within 5 years the fingerprints can be copied from the previous application file in VIS. Biometric data, along with the data provided in the Schengen visa application form, will be recorded in the VIS central database.

The VIS central database is very secure and data is processed in accordance with the highest data protection standards. Any person has the right to obtain communication of the data recorded in VIS related to him/her from the Schengen State which entered the data into the system. Any person may also request that inaccurate data related to him/her be corrected and data unlawfully recorded be deleted.

The recourse to biometric technology will increase visa applicants' protection against identity theft and prevent false identifications.

Biometric technology is used commonly in the EU and worldwide to make travel documents more secure.

In Turkey, the significant widening in recent years of the territorial coverage of visa application points by an enhanced presence of Schengen consular services and external service providers will contribute to ease up the journey of those who have to travel for a first time visa application.

Because VIS will contain all the Schengen visa applications lodged by an applicant over five years and the decisions taken by any Schengen State's consulate, this new procedure will allow visa applicants applying for a new and possibly a multiple-entry visa to establish more easily their bona fide status through information on the lawful use of previous visas.

Initiatives will continue to be taken to make the delivery of visa for travelling to the Schengen area easier and quicker for regular travellers. Furthermore the European Union remains committed to the Visa Liberalisation Dialogue with Turkey, with a view to ultimately eliminating the visa requirement for the access to the Schengen area.