The new system will allow much quicker processing of visa applications through the use of biometrics, including fingerprints and a digital facial image, which will facilitate the identification of visa holders and help to avoid identity theft. Stored fingerprint data will be erased after 5 years.
The VIS will allow for a quick and effective exchange of data on short-stay visas among Schengen countries. When the visa holder arrives at the external border, the Schengen states' border guards will verify his or her identity and check the authenticity of the visa in the VIS. This will help to avoid the risk of visa fraud, such as trying to use someone else's visa, by allowing quick, safe and secure biometric verifications.
The new system will contain all Schengen visa applications and all subsequent decisions taken by the visa authorities. The VIS will be introduced in stages, starting with the consular posts in North Africa. The next countries to be connected to the system will be the Near East and the Gulf regions.
All Schengen states' consular posts worldwide should be connected to the VIS within two years.