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More efficient and secure visa system goes live

11 October 2011

As from 08:00 CET Tuesday, the Visa Information System (VIS) started operations. Visa applications will now be processed much faster thanks to the use of biometrics (fingerprints and a digital facial image) which will facilitate the identification of visa holders and help to avoid identity theft. This new system will allow for a quick and effective exchange of data on short-stay visas among Schengen countries. The first consular posts to be connected to the system are those in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia).

"From now on, foreigners wishing to visit the EU will benefit from clearer, more precise, transparent and fairer visa application rules. The new system will also allow visas to be issued and verified in a more efficient and secure way. This is a big step towards improving and modernising the common EU visa policy", Commissioner Malmström said in a comment.

Read the full press release here. More information can be found in this memo and at the DG Home website.