Finland responds to the growing demand from Indian visitors – both leisure and business travellers – by opening visa application centres in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai on November 2. These will enable faster and more comprehensive services for Indian tourists and business travelers, says the embassy spokesperson. The visa centres will offer services such as on-site photographing, internet and most importantly, courier delivery across India once the visa decision has been made.
This is part of a bigger move by all the Schengen States to implement biometric requirements for travellers. The Visa Information System (VIS), which launches in India on November 2, aims “to better protect applicants against identity theft and to prevent document fraud and so-called visa shopping” said an embassy release. Indian citizens requesting a Schengen visa will have to appear in person at the visa centre to provide fingerprints and digital photographs.
However, frequent travellers will not have to give new fingerprints every time they apply for a new visa as the data will be valid for 59 months from the date of submission. The Schengen area is comprised of 26 countries that have agreed to allow free movement of their citizens within this area as a single country, and covers a majority of European countries.