EU Parliament approves lowering mandatory visa applicant biometrics collection age to 6 years old
The inclusion of biometrics in the European Union’s Schengen Visa Information System (VIS) for all visa applicants aged six and up is one step closer to reality after the proposed amendment was approved by European Parliament. The age for mandatory biometrics collection was lowered from 12 to 6 to help identify and trace missing children, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Other items in the proposed reforms include enhanced security checks across all EU databases, the inclusion of long-stay, residence permits, and “golden visas” in the VIS database, and better access to the VIS database for Europol and other law enforcement agencies.
“Today we approved a VIS that closes the information gaps in our security strategy,” says Carlos Coelho, rapporteur from the Group of the European People’s Party and the Portuguese Social Democrat Party. “Golden visas will be screened as never before, in Europe. Security checks will be harmonized across the continent, with increased cooperation between consular authorities, border guards and police officers. We will have better tools for return. We will prevent child trafficking and identify criminals and terrorists better. This is a future-proof VIS.”
The proposal was approved by a 522 to 122 vote, with 31 abstentions, and will now go through finalization process with the EU Parliament and Council.
The Schengen Information System (SIS), which is a tool for member states to exchange data about suspected criminals and missing people, were updated late last year to include latent fingerprints and allow facial recognition, among other changes.