Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Schengen Unveils Fresh Security Measures, Visa Applications Must Be Done In-Person

Travelers eyeing a European vacation will have to appear in-person to apply for a visa to Schengen countries as the European Union rolls-out fresh security measures for tourists requiring visas.
Citizens of countries that require a visa for entry into the European Union — Indonesia is one of those nations — must schedule a visit to the nearest member embassy to submit biometric information, such as fingerprints, when applying for a three- and six-month visa, the EU delegation announced in a press release. The changes went into effect on Thursday.
“This means that applicants for a short-term [3-month] visa for the Schengen area will have to appear in person when lodging their application, in order to provide their fingerprints,” the statement said.
The data will remain archived for five years, meaning travelers only have to make the visit once, the statement said. The new system, dubbed the Visa Information System (VIS), aims to prevent identity theft and fraudulent applications and will be instituted at all Southeast and Central Asian nations. The program has already been standardized in African, Middle Eastern and South American countries.
Children under the age of 12, those without readable fingerprints and heads of state and their families will be exempt from the new procedures. As will officials of the central government, members of a royal family and those invited to take part in an official delegation to EU states, the statement read.
Twenty-six nations are part of the Schengen zone — which includes much of the EU, minus Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom. The zone also includes non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Successful applicants will be granted a three- or six-month visa valid for all member states. (Jakarta Globe)

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