THE Fench Embassy in Accra has introduced a new procedure in the acquisition of visas.
The new procedure, which includes bio metric data, that is a digital thumbprint and photograph of the applicant was introduced in December last year.
Information from the press office of the French Embassy indicated that the procedure required the compulsory appearance of the applicant before a visa official for his or her digital thumbprint and photograph to be taken.
After the processing, it becomes easier for the person who already applied to apply a second time.
Furthermore, this new processing will facilitates tracking of information on applicants when they lose their travelling documents, as the identification of the person becomes easier.
All types of passports and visas are affected by this new system.
The change to the biometrics visa is in conformity with the European Union requirements for visa applicants to Europe.
It is also to help in the establishment of a common database called VIS (Visa Information System) that will contain the picture and thumbprint of all prospective applicants to European Union countries, to check fraud and other visa malpractice.
Each country of the European Union that make up the Schengen area, an area under special border control agreements, is in charge of their national data that is part of the European database and takes all measures to develop it.
France is one of the first to go ahead with this, and other Schengen States will do it progressively.
In Accra, the French embassy is the first to institute the process in visa applications to Schengen countries.
The United Kingdom is also doing it but does not offer biometrics visa services to states of the Shengen.
DAILY GRAPHIC, SATURDAY, JANUARY 12, 2008