The Visa Information System (VIS) is an IT system that allows Schengen States to exchange visa data. The main purpose of the VIS is to simplify the visa issuance process, facilitate checks at external borders and to enhance security for everyone involved, including applicants.
People applying for a Schengen visa for the first time must apply in person, so that the necessary biometric data can be collected.
Finger scans stored in the VIS can be re‑used for further visa applications within the following five years, so these later applications do not have to be made in person. When travellers enter the Schengen area, the border authorities are thus able to verify their identity by accessing the VIS.