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Migration and Home Affairs

Consultation on lowering the fingerprinting age for children in the visa procedure from 12 years to 6 years.

Policy field(s)

Migration and Asylum, Borders and Security, Justice and Fundamental rights

Period of consultation

From 17/08/2017 to 09/11/2017

Context of the consultation

The Visa Information System (VIS) is a large scale IT system that allows Schengen States implementing the visa acquis to exchange data on short stay visas and carry out visa processing. VIS connects consulates of these Schengen States in non-EU countries and all external border crossing points of these Schengen States. The system can perform biometric matching, primarily of fingerprints, for identification and verification purposes.

Objective of the consultation

This consultation was part of the preparations leading to a revision of the legal basis of the Visa Information System that the Commission put forward in 2018.

During 2015-2016 the Commission carried out a REFIT evaluation of the functioning of the Visa Information System (SWD (2016) 327, SWD (2016) 328 and COM(2016)655) (henceforth the VIS). The final Report of the evaluation, adopted in October 2016, identified a number of areas where improvement was necessary or could be envisaged.

This public consultation was part of a wider process of consultation of the stakeholders, feeding into a study on the necessity and proportionality of lowering the fingerprinting age for children in the visa procedure as a way to respond to concerns of children going missing, being victims of trafficking, child abduction, and irregular migration involving minors.

The study on the necessity and proportionality of lowering the fingerprinting age for children sought to, in particular:

  • Analyse and assess the needs that lowering the fingerprinting age for children in the VIS would address;
  • Analyse the proportionality of such a measure, including whether other, less intrusive measures to address the same issues are available;
  • Analyse and propose options for lowering the fingerprinting age, including non-EU and non-legislative action, and assess their impact.

More specifically, the study and this public consultation helped the Commission:

  • Assess in which way the lowering of the fingerprinting age for children could facilitate the fight against trafficking in children, help to address the phenomenon of children in migration going missing, child abduction through visa fraud or irregular migration involving children (minors) and thus contribute to the child protection aspects of the common policies on border checks, asylum and immigration.
  • Assess the legal, operational, practical and technical feasibility of taking fingerprints of children from the age of 6 years, taking into account VIS architecture.
  • Assess (and if possible quantify) the key benefits and costs on a high level of introducing this measure.
  • Identify the stakeholders involved and how they would interact, including the operational and practical implications for their workflows.
  • Assess whether the inclusion of child protection related provisions would entail extending the scope of consultation of the VIS to anti-trafficking or child protection authorities.
  • Assess child-friendly and child-sensitive considerations for collecting fingerprints and biometric data.

Target group(s)

Contributions to this public consultation are sought from individuals, public authorities, including national data protection authorities and child protection authorities and the Ombudsperson for Children, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), the EU Agency of Fundamental Rights (FRA) as well as civil society and academic institutions.

In the interests of transparency, organisations have been invited to provide the public with relevant information about themselves by registering in the Transparency Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct.

Results of consultation

The results of the public consultation were taken into consideration for the preparation of the Commission legal proposal amending the Visa Information System (VIS) and the Community Code on visas (the Visa Code). A summary report is available in the impact assessment accompanying the proposal(see Annex 2).

The consultation attracted a total of 25 responses; 15 respondents replied as individuals and 10 in their professional capacity or on behalf of an organisation.

The blank version of the questionnaire and the contributions are available below. Some personal data has been removed from the responses received and some answers have been anonymised at the request of the respondent.

Documents of this consultation

Protection of your personal data

The objective of this consultation were to gather the views of stakeholders and others, possibly for publication on the internet. The questions do not reflect the European Commission’s official position and in no way prejudge any decisions it may take in the future on the legislation on visa, borders and migration. As this online service collects and further processes personal data, it is subject to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data.

Received contributions are published above, unless a substantial justification for opposition to the publication of the contribution was provided. It is important to read the specificprivacy statement attached to this consultation for information on how your personal data and contribution was dealt with.

The Commission stores personal data securely and does not share it with other parties. It was entered in a list of contact details shared internally among Commission staff for the purpose of contacting you in the context of the Commission’s activities in the future. If you do not agree to this, please send an explicit objection to the Controller using the contact information included in the privacy statement.

Reference documents and other, related consultations

Contact details

  • responsible service:
    DG Migration and Home Affairs
    Unit for Visa Policy and document security
  • e-mail: HOME-NOTIFICATIONSB2atec [dot] europa [dot] eu
  • postal address:
    Rue du Luxembourg/Luxemburgstraat 46
    1049 Bruxelles/Brussel

Deadline: from 09/11/2017 to: 09/11/2017