European Commission wants visa comments

EU Visa Information System consultation

Taking advantage of the breadth of their central public input portal, European Commission officials are seeking input from across the European Union on their proposed Visa Information System (VIS).

Because there is no requirement to check identification when citizen cross state boundaries, U.S. officials are focusing visa efforts on implementing the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program for noncitizens and are working to add biometric identifiers to U.S. passports.

Within the European Union, however, commission officials want the VIS to make the Schengen uniform visas and other nation-specific visas more secure and easy to use. The Schengen visas have been in place among 10 European countries since 1995.

Because the proposed system involves personal information, this particular consultation seeks public comments on a range of issues that could come up in the development and implementation of the system. These issues range from the types of data to be entered into the system to the rights of different government authorities to enter, update and access the data.

Specific questions focus on issues such as:

The possible impact on travelers from countries that must still provide visas, illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers.

The possible impact on the protection of the personal information of visa holders and third-parties.

How biometric and other securities could protect the data within the system.

The potential impact on the companies involved in crossborder business, such as travel agencies; air, land and sea carriers; and information technology and telecommunications companies.

Whether the system will facilitate the ease of border crossings for travelers.

European Union citizens can either e-mail their answers to the entire series of questions to the Directorate-General for Justice and Home Affairs or fill out the online form with the same questions.

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