Switzerland to Reform Schengen Visa Information System

The Federal Council of Switzerland has introduced new changes to the regulations for the European electronic information system, the Central Visa Information System (C VIS).

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The amendments, out for consultation, have been made as part of efforts to deal with the challenges in the fields of visa policy and border security, Schengen.News reports.

Switzerland is adopting the further developments of the Schengen acquis, which also includes the redesign of the visa information system. Parliament already approved the adoption and implementation of the new EU regulations on this reform in December 2022. This legislation also needs to be implemented in various regulations. 

Switzerland’s Department of Justice and Police

Through a statement, the Department said that various ordinances should be made in order to take account of the new content of the C-VIS.

According to the Swiss Department of Justice and Police, the Ordinance on the Central Visa Information System and the National Visa System (VISV) will be revised in order to regulate the main tasks of the future VIS unit of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

Other changes include the disclosure of data to third countries or international organisations, especially in terms of the fight against terrorism.

The consultation on the amendments to the ordinance will last until October 17, 2024. The new amendments are expected to become effective in 2026, at the same time as the Swiss and European legal bases.

When these changes are implemented, the C-VIS will already be connected to the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), the Entry and Exit System (EES) and the Schengen Information System (SIS). This interoperability will enable better checks on people before entering the Schengen area.

Switzerland’s Department of Justice and Police

The C-VIS Helping Schengen States to Exchange Visa Data

The C-VIS permits visa, border as well as asylum and migration authorities to check the necessary information on third-country nationals who are required to hold a visa. At present, the system includes data on persons applying for a short-stay visa valid for 90 days in a 180-day period.

In the future, the minimum age for fingerprinting of children applying for short-term visas will be reduced from 12 to six years, while persons over 75 will be exempted from such a requirement. Besides, the system will now record data on long-stay visas and various residence permits.

The VIS Europe-wide electronic information system, allows Schengen Member States to exchange visa data. The C-VIS holds data on visa applicants as well as on the visas that have been applied for, granted, cancelled, denied, revoked or extended.