The first week after introduction of biometrics for Schengen visas went smoothly
Transition to a new system of issuing Schengen visas for Russian citizens, including the biometric data, passed without major disruptions,according to the poll of representatives of tourism industry, made by Interfax. Since September 14, 2015, the Russians are obliged to take fingerprints and a digital photograph to apply for short-term Schengen visas. This procedure requires a mandatory personal presence of the applicant at the visa application center. Biometric data will be kept in Visa Information System (VIS) for five years available for all Schengen countries . The press secretary of the Russian Union of Travel Industry Irina Turina said that the tour operators do not have yet any claims to the new system. "There are some minor technical problems, but they are not systematic. But a week is rather short term to make any conclusions. Fortunately, the high season is over," Irina Tyurina said. The whole process takes no more than half an hour. At the same time the procedure of putting fingerprints takes a maximum of 10 minutes. Some consulates, including the Polish and French, stopped accreditation of tour operators after the introduction of biometrics. But most of the travel companies continue working with the consulates. "We make an appointment for our client for biometrics. On the appointed morning our courier brings the documents of the tourist to the visa center, and the customer needs to visit the center for delivery of biometrics" the Head of Visa Department of TUI Russia Olga Muratova commented. According to the president of group of companies Natalie Tours Vladimir Vorobiev, the problems due to the introduction of fingerprinting emerged in some regions. "We noted the change of delivery time in some regions. There is a little difficulty with the fact that makinga an appointment for a tourist to the procedure of fingerprinting in the VIS, we can not see the number of remaining free space for appointments on a specific day. In general, the system operates normally," Vladimir Vorobiev said.
Yury Mishchenko, graduated from Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages, has more than 15 years experience in tourism and travel. Working both in tour operator company as destination manager, and in travel agency as sales manager, he is focused on analysis of Russian tour operators’ daily routine. Recently, Yury works in Baginet Marketing and Sales Agency.