From the 12th October 2015, travellers wishing to apply for Schengen visa applications in China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea and Taiwan will be required to attend a biometrics appointment at the appropriate consulate or Application Centre. From the 2nd November, this change will also be extended to applicants in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Biometric data collection includes the provision of fingerprint scans and a digital photograph, with the applicant needing to apply in person in order for these readings to be taken. These biometric readings will be stored for a period of five years, after which the applicant is required to resubmit their data should they wish to reapply.
While the published visa processing times remain unaffected, the logistics involved in completing this additional step could increase the overall application time so applicants in this region are advised to consider this when planning travel to any of the 26 Schengen states.
The Visa Information System has been in place since 2011, with a view to eventually unifying the application process for each Schengen region.
Should you need any further information on Schengen visa applications, please do not hesitate to contact us.