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Establishment of the Visa Information System (VIS) – Stage 1

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Establishment of the Visa Information System (VIS) – Stage 1

This Decision constitutes the required legal basis allowing for the inclusion in the general budget of the European Union (EU) of the necessary appropriations for the development of the Visa Information System (VIS). The VIS is based on a centralised architecture and consists of a central information system on visas and an interface in each Member State . It is the Commission’s responsibility, through the comitology procedures, to develop the central information system and the national interfaces.

ACT

Council Decision 2004/512/EC of 8 June 2004 establishing the Visa Information System (VIS).

SUMMARY

The Visa Information System (VIS) is based on a centralised architecture. It consists of a central information system, the Central Visa Information System (CS-VIS), of an interface in each Member State, the National Interfaces (NI-VIS) that provide the connection to the relevant central national authorities of the respective Member States, and of a communication infrastructure between the Central Visa Information System and the National Interfaces.

The Commission is responsible for developing the:

  • Central Visa Information System;
  • National Interface in each Member State ;
  • communication infrastructure between the Central Visa Information System and the National Interfaces.

The national infrastructures are adapted by the Member States.

The measures to be developed by the Commission are adopted in accordance with the advisory procedure of the comitology Decision 1999/468/EC for matters relating to the:

  • design of the physical architecture of the system;
  • technical aspects that have a bearing on the protection of personal data;
  • technical aspects that have serious financial implications for the budgets of the Member States or that have serious technical implications for the national systems of the Member States;
  • development of security requirements, including biometric aspects.

Other necessary measures are adopted using the management procedure of the comitology Decision.

The Commission will submit a yearly progress report to the European Parliament and the Council, starting in the year following the signing of the contract for the development of the VIS.

Context

The Seville European Council on 21 and 22 June 2002 considered the establishment of a common identification system for visa data a top priority and called for its introduction as soon as possible. In response to this request, the Commission presented a feasibility study in May 2003. The Council welcomed the study in June 2003 and invited the Commission to continue its preparatory work on the development of the VIS.

This Decision constitutes the required legal basis to allow for the inclusion of the necessary appropriations for the development of the VIS in the general budget of the EU. The Decision follows from the European Council in Thessaloniki on 19 and 20 June 2003, which deemed that orientations should be determined with regard to the planning for the development of the VIS, together with the appropriate legal basis permitting its establishment and the engagement of the necessary financial means.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2004/512/EC

5.7.2004

-

OJ L 231 of 15.6.2004

RELATED ACTS

Commission Decision 2008/602/EC of 17 June 2008 laying down the physical architecture and requirements of the national interfaces and of the communication infrastructure between the central VIS and the national interfaces for the development phase [Official Journal L 194 of 23.7.2008].

The Annex to this Decision establishes the design of the physical architecture and the network requirements for the NI-VIS and for the communication infrastructure between the NI-VIS and the CS-VIS.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the development of the Visa Information System (VIS) in 2012. [ COM(2013)232 final - not published in the Official Journal].

This report covers the work carried out by the Commission in 2012 and is the ninth and final report foreseen under Article 6 of Council Decision 2004/512/EC.

The main points covered in the report are:

  • The Final System Acceptance (FSA) was granted in August 2012 when the contractor was considered to have completed the development of the system and released from its contractual obligations in the project development. This important step marked the end of the development of the system in the sense of Council Decision 2004/512/EC and therefore the end of the yearly progress reports referred to in its Article 6.
  • The VIS was successfully deployed in two more geographical regions: the Near East and the Gulf region. The successful and incident-free deployment of VIS in these regions covering 14 countries indicates that the system has matured to a very satisfactory level and that it can sustain operations in subsequent regions.
  • The VIS Mail Communication Mechanism allows for the transmission of messages between Member States using the VIS network infrastructure. During the reporting period, work was focused on preparing the so-called Phase 2 of the VIS Mail, which will replace the Schengen consultation network (VISION system, under Council management) once the worldwide deployment of the VIS is completed.
  • The Biometric Matching System (BMS) became operational together with the VIS, on 11 October 2011. The BMS, which provides fingerprint matching services to the VIS, was granted Final System Acceptance in March 2012 after 5 months of operations without incident.
  • A contract was awarded in 2012 to cater for the technical maintenance of the VIS under working conditions and to improve the performance of the system over time, taking into account the increasing amount of data that will be inserted in the VIS in the coming years.
  • The EU IT Agency eu-LISA took over the operational responsibility of VIS from the Commission on 1 December 2012.
  • As of 22 November 2012, the VIS had successfully processed close to 1.9 million visa applications, of which 1.5 million resulted in Schengen visas issued, while close to 235 000 visas were refused. The central system had dealt with almost 40 million operations received from consulates around the world and border crossing points.

Last updated: 11.02.2014

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