New Schen­gen visa to re­quire na­tion­als to scan fin­ger­prints

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

R.O.C. na­tion­als ap­ply­ing for long- term Schen­gen visas will have to have their fin­ger­prints scanned start­ing Oct. 12 as part of the Euro­pean Union’s ( EU) ef­forts to beef up bor­der con­trol, the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

Speak­ing dur­ing a MOFA news brief­ing, the min­istry’s Depart­ment of Euro­pean Af­fairs’ di­rec­tor-gen­eral, Anna Kao ( ), said the EU of­fi­cially launched a Visa In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem (VIS) in Novem­ber 2011 with the aim of re­in­forc­ing ex­ter­nal bor­der man­age­ment.

As part of the new VIS re­quire­ments, ap­pli­cants are re­quired to pro­vide their bio­met­ric data, in­clud­ing 10 fin­ger­prints and a dig­i­tal pho­to­graph when ap­ply­ing for a visa of more than 90 days, she said.

Ac­cord­ing to the EU, the VIS will start op­er­at­ing in all Schen­gen mem­ber na­tion con­sulates in East Asia on Oct. 12, in­clud­ing those in main­land China, Ja­pan, Mon­go­lia, North Korea, South Korea and Tai­wan, she noted.

Kao said rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices of sev­eral EU coun­tries have al­ready been fol­low­ing the new pro­ce­dure for some time even though the new pro­ce­dures will only be ex­panded to all EU coun­tries’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fices in Tai­wan start­ing Oct. 12.

Kao stressed, how­ever, that the change will have no ef­fect on most Tai­wanese trav­el­ing to the Schen­gen area be­cause the EU granted R.O.C. pass­port hold­ers visa-free en­try priv­i­leges in Jan­uary 2011.

The EU visa-waiver pro­vi­sion al­lows Tai­wanese trav­el­ers to en­ter Euro­pean coun­tries for busi­ness and plea­sure for up to 90 days within a six-month pe­riod with­out a visa.

The latest mea­sure only af­fects those who need to ap­ply for a Schen­gen visa for long-term work or for pur­poses other than those cov­ered in the Schen­gen visa waiver pro­gram for more than 90 days, she noted.

Also, fin­ger­print scans are not re­quired for chil­dren un­der the age of 12 or for peo­ple who can­not phys­i­cally pro­vide the scans, she said.

Fore more de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on fin­ger­print col­lec­tion, trav­el­ers should check the web­site of the EU coun­try they are vis­it­ing be­fore mak­ing a visa ap­pli­ca­tion, she added.

Ac­cord­ing to an EU state­ment re­leased in Au­gust, the VIS will fa­cil­i­tate visa ap­pli­ca­tion pro­ce­dures and checks at the ex­ter­nal borders of the Euro­pean Union, as well as en­hance se­cu­rity.

”The re­course to bio­met­ric tech­nol­ogy will pro­tect visa ap­pli­cants bet­ter against iden­tity theft and pre­vent false iden­ti­fi­ca­tions, which in cer­tain cases lead to a re­fusal of a visa or en­try to a per­son who is en­ti­tled to en­ter,” the state­ment said.

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