The European Council has adopted new rules for visa applications, according to an announcement published by the Council.
The new rules will be pertaining specifically to the Visa Information System (VIS), which is a tool widely used by Member States to help with short-stay visa applications. VIS is useful to Member States by providing resources for them to register and check their short-stay visa applications.
The Council’s goals for the amendments to the regulation include:
- Strengthen the security of the short-stay visa procedure
- Include long-stay visas and residence permits in the VIS database
- Ensure that the VIS and other relevant EU databases and systems are interoperable
As a result, the VIS will include more types of visas and help to ensure freedom of movement within the Schengen Area and EU.
In addition, a scan of the biographical data page of a person’s visa and other travel documents will be included in the VIS, according to the announcement.
One of the areas of highlight form the Council is the updated security of the new VIS, should it pass further votes.
Under the new rules, the VIS will allow for advanced background checks on an applicant in relevant security and migration databases. This will happen by the VIS automatically launching a query of these databases. Any hits will be manually verified, and sent to the competent authority for follow-up.
The update to the VIS is another effort being made by EU legislators to use technology to maintain and improve Europe’s security.
“In recent years the EU has consistently worked to improve controls of those entering the Schengen area, through the adoption of the travel authorisation system (ETIAS), the entry/exit system and the interoperability of databases. The update to the VIS is the next step in this direction. The new rules will allow for better checks of visa applicants to identify those who may pose a security threat or risk abusing our migration rules,” said Eduardo Cabrita, Minister for Home Affairs of Portugal.
The VIS has been operations since 2011, and has been under constant improvement and scrutiny since.