EU: Visa Information System (VIS) - "EU VISIT system" takes shape

UPDATED: Draft Regulation on VIS and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (doc no 13861/06, dated 12 October 2006) This document compares the Commission proposal to the current "compromise" draft and sets out outstanding questions.

The EU is currently deciding on the purpose, function and scope of the VIS and law enforcement access to it. The personal data of everyone who applies for an EU short-stay visa, including their photograph and fingerprints, will be recorded in the VIS (this includes persons whose applications for a visa are rejected). As with the "US VISIT system", this data will ultimately be used to facilitate identity checks and verify entry to and exit from the EU. In addition, the "internal security" agencies of the member states and Europol will have access to the data. See:

- Previous: Draft Regulation on VIS and the exchange of data between Member States on short-stay visas (12190/06, 7 September 2006 - shows original proposal, proposed European Parliament amendments and suggested "presidency compromise")

- Council Decision establishing the Visa Information System (June 2004)

Draft Decision on access to VIS by internal security agencies and Europol:
- Commission proposal (COM (2005) 600, 24 November 2005)
- Police cooperation working party (9641/06, 7 June 2006)
- Proposals for redrafting and outstanding questions (10627/06, 27 June 2006)
- Proposals for redrafting (11405/06, 3 August 2006)
- Proposals as at 16 October 2005 (EU doc no: 11405/1/06)
- UPDATED: Proposal as at 19 October 2006 (EU doc no: 14196/06)

- Opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (20 January 2006), including the following remarks:

"One must bear in mind that the VIS is an information system developed in view of the application of the European visa policy and not as a law enforcement tool. Routine access would indeed represent a serious violation of the principle of purpose limitation. It would entail a disproportionate intrusion in the privacy of travellers who agreed to their data being processed in order to obtain a visa, and expect their data to be collected, consulted and transmitted, only for that purpose."


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