Effective Thursday 15th May 2014, Vincentians wishing to obtain visas to enter European countries within the Schengen area will now have to apply in person at the respective embassies.
The European Union has informed that as of May 15th the EU Visa Information System (VIS) will be enforced in the Eastern Caribbean region. The VIS is a system for the exchange of data on short stay visas between Schengen states, it is being progressively deployed, region by region, until all Schengen states, consulates are connected.
Applicants will have to apply in person at responsible Embassy and provide their biometric data as well as Schengen visa application form. According to the EU the recourse to biometric technology will better protect visa applicants against identity theft and false identifications, which in certain cases lead to refusal of a visa or entry of a person entitled to enter.
Visa applicants will have to provide such biometric data every five years. During the 5 year period the fingerprints will be copied from the application, so that frequent travelers will only have to complete the procedure once within this period.
Exemptions from the obligation of fingerprinting are provided for the following categories of applicants only
- Children under 12
- Persons whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible
- Head of states or government and members of a national government with accompanying spouses and the members of their official delegation when they are invited by the Government of member states or by International Organisations for an official purpose