The Visa Information System
The Visa Information System (VIS) is established under Regulation 2008/767EC for the purpose of facilitating the visa application procedure, prevent visa shopping and fraud, and facilitate border checks as well as identity checks within the territory of the Member States and to contribute to the prevention of threats to the internal security of the Member States.
The VIS Regulation sets out which data shall be included in the database at the various stages of processing a visa. Apart from data on the visa application (such as planned travel itinerary, inviting persons etc.) it also includes a photograph of the applicant and fingerprints.
Supervision over the national units is allocated to the DPAs in the respective Member State, while the central VIS is supervised by the EDPS. For the purposes of coordinating supervision, the VIS Regulation provides that national DPAs and the EDPS both acting within their respective competences, shall:
- exchange relevant information
- assist each other in carrying out audits and inspections
- examine difficulties of interpretation or application of this Regulation
- study problems with the exercise of independent supervision or with the exercise of the rights of data subjects
- draw up harmonised proposals for joint solutions to any problems and
- promote awareness of data protection rights.
For such purposes, the VIS Supervision Coordination Group (VIS SCG) has been set up and meets twice a year. The VIS SCG is composed of representatives from the national DPAs and the EDPS.