As of 14 September 2015 all applicants applying for a Schengen visa will be required to present their biometric data - ten fingerprints and a digital photo. Biometric data will be stored in the Visa Information System (VIS), which is a central database for the exchange of data on short-stay visas (for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period) between Schengen States. The main objectives of the VIS are to facilitate visa application procedures and checks at external border as well as to enhance security.
Therefore, as of 14 September 2015 all visa applicants will have to appear in person at the Visa Application Centers for Greece, when lodging the application, in order to provide their fingerprints. Upon approval from the Consulate, for subsequent applications within next 59 months the fingerprints may be copied from previous application file of the VIS.
Under the VIS, mandatory fingerprinting is introduced for all passport categories. Consular sections must collect biometric data – digital photo and fingerprinting often fingers - from all visa applicants. Consequently, all visa applicants, irrespective of nationality, shall be required to present themselves at the Visa Application Center at the time of their visa application for the biometric data collection.
(*)Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
The following categories of applicants are exempt from the requirement to provide fingerprints (Article 13(7) of the Visa Code):
- Children under the age of 12;
- Persons for whom fingerprinting is physically impossible. If the fingerprinting of fewer than 10 fingers is possible, the maximum number of fingerprints shall be taken. However, should the impossibility be temporary, the applicant shall be required to give the fingerprints at the following application. The authorities competent in accordance with Article 4(1), (2) and (3) shall be entitled to ask for further clarification of the grounds for the temporary impossibility. Member States shall ensure that appropriate procedures guaranteeing the dignity of the applicant are in place in the event of there being difficulties in enrolling;
- Heads of State or government and members of a national government with accompanying spouses, and the members of their official delegation when they are invited by Member States’ governments or by international organizations for an official purpose;
- Sovereigns and other senior members of a royal family, when they are invited by Member States’ governments or by international organizations for an official purpose.
Biometrics will be collected using a quick, discreet and non-intrusive process that captures a facial image with a digital camera and a 10-digit fingerprint scan with a digital finger scanner.
- Your face must be clearly visible for a photograph to be taken. This means that you cannot:
- have hair that covers the eyes
- wear a hat or scarf or any other item that obscures the face, hair or neck (with the exception of religious head coverings detailed below:
- If you wear a head or neck covering for religious reasons you must ensure your face is clearly visible, from the bottom of your chin to above your eyebrows including both cheeks. If possible both ears should also be displayed. You may also need to remove your glasses when the photograph is taken.
- If you have cut or damaged your fingertips, you should make an appointment with the Greece Visa Application Center when the injury has healed.
- If you have a temporary decoration, such as mehndi, you should advise the Greece Visa Application Center when booking your appointment to determine whether a scan will be possible.
- If you refuse to submit your biometric data, your visa application cannot be processed, and you will be referred to the Consulate General of Greece.