Changes in Schengen visa application process

Last updated: 12.10.2015 // Introduction of Visa Information System (VIS)

To create more accurate processing and greater security in the visa process, Schengen member states will introduce Visa Information System (VIS) in Sri lanka from 2 November 2015.

The consequence for visa applicants is that first-time applicants have to appear in person when lodging their application in order to provide their photograph and fingerprints – biometrics. A person will not be issued a Schengen visa if she/he fails to provide biometric data.

What is VIS?

The VIS is a system for the exchange of visa data among Schengen Member States. These States share a common area of free movement without internal border controls. They have a common visa policy which includes exchanging information on visa applicants.

From 2nd November 2015, Sri Lankan citizens requesting a Schengen visa will have to appear in person in order to provide biometric data (fingerprints and digital photography). This concerns the applications for the short-term Schengen visas (max. 90 days in 180 days).

Applications for Residence permits will not be registered in VIS.

For subsequent applications within next 5 years, the biometric data will be copied from the previous visa application included in the VIS in most cases, unless there is any technical requirement to obtain data again. After 5 years, the biometric data will be deleted and a new one will be required.

Only Children under 12 years, persons of whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible, sovereigns and other senior members of a royal family, heads of state and members of the national governments are exempted from the obligation of giving fingerprints.

The purpose of introducing VIS globally is to better protect applicants against identity theft and to prevent document fraud and so-called "visa shopping". Africa, The Gulf region, South America and Central Asia are already under the VIS system. VIS was introduced in Russia in September, China will be next in October and then the South Asia region in November.

The VIS is connected to the national visa system of all Schengen States. Each Schengen State is responsible for the development, management, and operation of its national system. Strict data protection rules are defined in the VIS-related rules and are subject to control of national and European data protection authorities.

Visas issued before 2 November 2015 are still valid after 2 November. However, everyone applying after 2 November will have to give biometrics.  

Apart from the introduction of biometrics, there will be no changes in current procedures. There will be no additional charges for capturing biometric data if applying through Norway.

VFS Global Services will take the biometrics from applicants when they submit their applications. It is, however, important that applicants take into account that in the beginning, applying for visa at VFS will take a bit longer.

If you plan to travel in November, please consider submitting your documents a few weeks in advance (at least three weeks).

Access to VIS data is limited to authorised staff working for visa, border, immigration and asylum authorities for the performance of their tasks.


We are here to assist you while this new system comes into operation. Please see below documents for further information. If you still have any questions or doubts, please email at

Additional information on VIS:

FAQs & Further Information




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