What is the change? Schengen zone countries are set to roll out their common visa application system Nov. 2 at embassies and consulates in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

What does the change mean? Affected visa applicants will be required to provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photograph) at the appropriate embassy or consulate.

  • Implementation time frame: Nov. 2.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas to Schengen member countries.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for Schengen visas in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • Business impact: The change requires certain business and other travelers to attend an in-person meeting when applying for a Schengen visa.
  • Next steps: Those applying for their initial Schengen visa will be required to apply in person and provide biometrics. Once they have submitted their information, applicants will require no additional biometric appointments for other Schengen visa applications within five years.

Background: The Visa Information System, which unifies the application process for Schengen visas, was introduced in 2011 and is being launched region by region. The Nov. 2 rollout follows introduction of the system in Russia last month and in China, Japan, Mongolia, North and South Korea and Taiwan this month.

BAL Analysis: Schengen Visa applicants with upcoming travel plans should be prepared for the extra step of appearing in person at an embassy or consulate to provide biometrics when applying in a region where the system has been implemented.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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