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Purchase of a biometric identification system for the consulates in North Africa

Some 24 biometric identification systems were purchased and 28 kiosks installed in Spanish consulates in North Africa, allowing for fingerprints and facial identification to be carried out with the privacy required by Muslim culture.

Project dates 01/12/2008 - 01/12/2009
Total budget€863 981
EU contribution75%
Name of the entity managing the projectMinistry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation

Project Description

The ‘Visa Information System’ (VIS) was created to deal with the growing problem of non-EU nationals shopping around different EU countries for a visa after being refused by one EU country. The VIS not only aims to prevent visa shopping and other forms of visa fraud, but also to counter irregular immigration.

Under the VIS regime, applicants for a Schengen visa must travel to an EU consulate and submit biometric data in the form of fingerprints and a photograph of their face. This information will then be centrally stored in the system’s database.

The introduction of biometric identification systems in EU consulates abroad is therefore essential. This project allowed the Spanish visa-issuing consulates in North Africa to purchase biometric identification systems as well as install kiosks so that the identification process can be carried out in a discreet way, specifically taking into account the privacy required by the culture and religion of the Muslim countries.

Benefits and results

The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation purchased 24 independent biometric identification systems for the Spanish consulates in North Africa. In addition, 28 kiosks were installed in the consulates so that both photographs and fingerprints could be taken quickly, easily and efficiently. The installation of kiosks in spaces designated for biometric identification will help to avoid queuing at counters, allowing for a faster and more discreet application process.

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