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Since 14/11/2013, the procedure for applying for a visa has been slightly modified because of the introduction of the VIS. VIS stands for "Visa Information System" and means that since that day the biometric data are integrated into the visa.
The main purpose of the VIS is to facilitate the issuance of visas and the control at external borders and to improve safety for all persons concerned, including the applicant.
However, this means that since 14/11/2013 all Schengen visa applicants have to come in person to apply themselves in order to register their 10 fingerprints and their personal digital photo. These data are kept five years.
For more detailed information, we kindly refer you to the website of the European Union