France implements biometric visas in India

France, in line with all the countries of the Schengen Area, began issuing biometric visas to Indian citizens with effect from 2 November 2015, in order to facilitate travel throughout the Schengen Area and help issue long-term visas more easily,
The French Embassy in India will offer a large number of 3- or 5-year circulation visas to frequent visitors of France.

Recording biometric data is a simple, fast and discreet procedure. The VFS centres will take fingerprints of both hands as well as the photographs of the applicants. The procedure takes just a few minutes. These biometric data will then be stored in a secured system called Visa Information System (VIS), which can be accessed by all the Schengen Area countries and solely by them. This new system has been introduced to protect and help visa applicants. It will help enhance the confidentiality and security of their individual data and reduce risks of fraud and identity theft. By creating secure identification of people, the transition to biometrics will facilitate travel throughout the Schengen Area and help issue long-term visas more easily.

Eight new VFS centres have been opened across India, bringing up their number to a total of 14 (Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, New Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jalandhar, Kolkata, Mumbai, Puducherry and Pune), to ensure the best possible proximity to the applicants.

All visa applicants will now be asked to come in person at any listed VFS centre of their choice to register their biometric data; children under the age of 12 years are exempted from the procedure. The recorded biometric data will be stored for a period of 59 months (almost 5 years), obviating the need for applicants to come in person again for renewing their visa. Furthermore, the biometric data recorded by France will be valid during this period for all Schengen Area countries (similarly, the data recorded by any Schengen Area country will be valid for France during a period of 59 months).

The applicant is obliged to come in person only once (to have their fingerprints and photograph taken). The visa can be collected either by the applicants themselves, or by a person they have authorized if they wish to avoid making a second trip. Visas issued prior to the introduction of biometrics will remain valid.