New Schengen visa complications for SA

2013-06-03 16:00

Pretoria - South Africans hoping to visit Europe face more visa hurdles, as new biometric data becomes part of the Schengen visa application process.

iAfrica reports that on 6 June the European Union will introduce its Visa Information System (VIS) in Southern Africa, requiring applicants to appear in person for visa applications to enable the collection of biometric data.

Travellers based outside of cities where the relevant consulates are equipped with the necessary technology will face additional costs and inconvenience in having to travel to a different consulate.

The process will apply to all foreign passport holders requesting short-stay visas (up to three months) for relevant Schengen states. However, once applicants' biometric data - fingerprints and a digital photograph - has been entered in the VIS, personal visits to the consulate may be waived for the following five years.

Children under the age of 12, persons of whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible, as well as heads of state and members of national government when travelling for official purposes may be exempted from the provision of fingerprints. 

VIS is already in effect in north, west and central Africa, the Near East and Gulf region and will be rolled out globally until all Schengen consulates worldwide are connected.


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