European Commission has proposed several upgrades to the VIS (Visa Information System) currently in use to screen potential threats to security entering the union for short-stay visits in the Schengen Area. The VIS database connects border guards of EU Members states placed on the external borders of the union with member states consulates around the world providing an effective screening of the applicant information. This system will work together with the two upcoming authorisation ETIAS and EES to give the applicant the ultimate approval to travel in the EU.
The changes proposed modifies the scope of the VIS database, that with the new proposal, will be put in use also for long stay-visas and residence permits, giving to VIS the role to be a coordination system across the multiple systems already in use.
The upgrades proposed also enhance the internal and external border management with the following measures:
- All visa application recorded in the Visa Information System will be automatically checked against other EU security and migration systems like The Schengen Information System (SIS) and the ECRIS (European Criminal Records Information System) in a centralized way. The cross-check will be able to detect applicant using multiple identities or apply more than one time, and it closes the gap in information due to different systems that are currently isolated.
- Having VIS storing info about residence permits allows border guards to quickly determine if the permit is valid before crossing the EU borders, this closes a security gap that is considered as a priority by the Council.
- The extension of background information stored by VIS increases with the copies of visa applicant's travel document. This further info helps coast guard agency staff to identify undocumented migrants trying to entering the EU.
- Europol and other Law enforcement authorities have more structured access to VIS; this leads to an increase in prevention and detection of serious crimes and terrorist actions.