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Implementation of Biometrics in Visas from June 6th 2013

03.06.2013  12:55

Press release by the EU Delegation to Kenya
03 Jun. 13

The European Union (EU) will begin soon the operation of the Visa Information Systems (VIS) in relation to Schengen short-stay visas as decided in 2009 by the European Commission (EC).

In East Africa including Kenya, Schengen States' consulates will from June 06, 2013 collect fingerprints and digital photos from all visa applicants

Exemptions of the above are listed in the Visa Code, Art. 13, § 7 as follows:
- Children under 12;
- Applicants for which fingerprinting is physically impossible;
-  Sovereigns, Senior Members of a Royal Family, Heads of State, members of governments and spouses and their delegation when invited on official purpose.

The Schengen States' consulates in Kenya include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Spain, Slovakia, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland.

The following countries are within the Schengen area and adhere to the Schengen Agreement. They include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece Hungary, Iceland (not a EU Member State), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein (not a EU Member State), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway (not a EU Member State), Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland (not a EU Member State).

The VIS is a technical corollary to the establishment of a common area of freedom, security and justice in the EU and the free movement of persons inside the Schengen area.

Citizens from third countries like Kenya will benefit from the VIS through a streaming of visa application and border control procedures, as well as easier ways to establish applicants' lawful use of previous visas and bona fide status (e.g. when applying for a multiple-entry visa)


The start of operations of the VIS is part of the gradual worldwide deployment of the VIS over the coming years in all Schengen States' consulates. It is planned that the global roll-out will take at least two (2) more years.

The Commission's decision determining the first three regions for the roll-out of the VIS was adopted in 2009 on the basis of criteria set out in the VIS Regulation (risk of irregular immigration, threats to the internal security of the Schengen States, technical feasibility for collecting biometrics). The Commission's decision determining the next eight regions was adopted in April 2012.

In accordance with the decision, after West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo) and Central Africa (Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principle), the VIS will be deployed in June 2013 in East Africa (Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) and Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

The next regions for the deployment are South America (September 2013); Central Asia, South East Asia and the occupied Palestinian territory (November 2013).

The Commission will adopt in the first semester 2013, a decision setting the sequence for the roll-out in the remaining regions of the world.

Already, the VIS has been rolled-out in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) in October 2011, in the Near East (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) in May 2012, and in the Gulf regional (Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen) in October 2012.

This data collected can be consulted by all visa-issuing authorities of the Schengen States, and is counter-checked by border authorities at the entry of the visa holder into the Schengen area.

Issued in Nairobi by the EU Delegation to Kenya
June 3, 2013