The European Commission is about to officially require Indian visitors to Schengen countries to submit biometric data when applying for travel visas. The new requirement will take effect on November 2.
The move does not come as a great surprise, having been anticipated since earlier this autumn. Indians interested in visiting the Schengen region – a collection of countries largely comprising the European Union that allow passport-free travel between their borders – will now have to submit fingerprints as well as the usual passport information when applying for a travel visa at their local consulates. Part of the European Commission’s visa information system (VIS), the EC says the measure is intended to protect the identities and documentation of travelers to the region.
Besides, it’s also likely intended as a security measure to help European countries manage the massive influx of refugees seen in recent years, with France having recently called for widespread biometric screening at Schengen borders as a putative anti-terrorism measure. In any case, it reflects a trend that goes both ways; India itself recently introduced biometric requirements for British travelers wishing to visit the country – also citing national security concerns – and its government has remained steadfast on this matter in the face of opposition from the travel industry and others.
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