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I am an Indian citizen with US green card (living in the US). I had applied and received a Schengen visa last year from the Italian Embassy last year for a 2 week visit. The visa details were:

From: 20-06-15 To: 10-07-15. MULTI Duration of stay: 21 days The visa had the "VIS" entry in it (proves that the visa included biometric information which is shared across the SCHENGEN states)

I was planning to travel to France in July/August and saw the following information on the France web site:

Please note that you don't have to apply in person if you already hold a Schengen visa with the mention "VIS" on it issued less than 5 years ago. In that case, just mail us your complete application with a credit card authorization form for the fees and a self addressed prepaid envelope.

Does this hold true in my case and can I just mail the passport in (without going in for an appointment)?

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    Why would it not hold true? – Zach Lipton Apr 7 '16 at 23:01
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    I am trying to understand the word "Hold a Schengen visa" - According to the visa issued by the Italian embassy, the visa was valid from 20-06-15 to 10-07-15. Does the phrase "Hold a Schengen visa" mean that it was applied for and approved or that the "to" date is in the future? – user42006 Apr 7 '16 at 23:03
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    As I read it, the requirement just means you need to have been previously issued a Schengen visa labeled "VIS," which demonstrates that your biometrics are already in the system, whether or not that visa is used or expired. Since that's the case, you wouldn't need to appear in person. Someone else may know for sure though. You can usually email the consulate to confirm too. – Zach Lipton Apr 7 '16 at 23:08
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    Thanks - the consulate is not very responsive. I have sent them a couple of e-mails but have not yet received a response (waiting over a week) – user42006 Apr 7 '16 at 23:10
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    Hold means you ever held a visa. If they meant valid visa as of today, they will say If you hold a valid visa. – DavChana Apr 8 '16 at 9:47
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As I read it, the requirement just means you need to have been previously issued a Schengen visa labeled "VIS," which demonstrates that your biometrics are already in the system (that's the Visa Information System, which Schengen states use to share visa data and biometrics), whether or not that visa is used or expired. Since you gave biometrics for your last visa already, you wouldn't need to appear in person.

One source says:

An applicant requesting a visa for the first time must appear in person for the collection of his or her biometric data: a photograph and ten fingerprints. However, for subsequent applications within five years, fingerprints from the VIS file can be re-used unless there is reasonable doubt regarding the applicant's identity.

You can usually email the consulate to confirm too if there's any doubt. I presume they would contact you if they deemed a personal appearance necessary.

Note that every Schengen country has been rolling out their systems on different timetables, so the exact rules that will apply to applicants may depend on the consulate responsible for your application.

  • Although this is true, I was scanned twice for fingerprints at the Netherlands - I guess there was some doubt about my identity? Same passport, same destination country, same purpose of visit just one year gap between applications. Oh well :/ – Burhan Khalid Apr 24 '16 at 11:11
  • I've seen some countries (e.g. the German Consulate in San Francisco) with more restrictive rules, such as having to appear in person and provide fingerprints unless you've already gotten two used Schengen visas in the last 12 months, or just one Schengen visa issued by that consulate in the last 12 months, or you already hold a used long stay visa from within the last 24 months. I don't know where all these different rules are coming from or why they are all so different. Short answer seems to be that you have to check the details for each consulate as to whether they require a visit. – Zach Lipton Apr 25 '16 at 21:07

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