Biometric Data Collection

Effective 14 March 2013, the Visa Information System (VIS) will be launched in West Africa. VIS was first launched in North Africa in October 2011 and is being progressively deployed in all EU Schengen States' consulates and embassies worldwide (*). The VIS is aimed at simplifying the visa application process and border control procedures as well as fighting the counterfeit of documents and theft of identity.

Under the VIS, mandatory fingerprinting is introduced for all passport categories. Consular sections must collect biometric data – fingerprinting of ten fingers - from all visa applicants. Consequently, all visa applicants, irrespective of nationality, shall be required to present themselves at the consular section of Consulate General of Italy in Nigeria or at the Visa Application Centre at the time of their visa application.

(*)[1]Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

The following categories of applicants are exempted from the requirement to provide fingerprints (Article 13(7) of the Visa Code): but are required to apply personally.

  1. children under the age of 12; but are required to apply personally.
  2. persons for whom fingerprinting is physically impossible. If the fingerprinting of fewer than 10 fingers is possible, the maximum number of fingerprints shall be taken. However, should the impossibility be temporary, the applicant shall be required to give the fingerprints at the following application. The authorities competent in accordance with Article 4(1), (2) and (3) shall be entitled to ask for further clarification of the grounds for the temporary impossibility. Member States shall ensure that appropriate procedures guaranteeing the dignity of the applicant are in place in the event of there being difficulties in enrolling;
  3. heads of State or government and members of a national government with accompanying spouses, and the members of their official delegation when they are invited by Member States’ governments or by international organisations for an official purpose;
  4. sovereigns and other senior members of a royal family, when they are invited by Member States’ governments or by international organisations for an official purpose.

Basic Procedure

Biometrics will be collected using a quick, discreet and non-intrusive process that captures a 10-digit fingerprint scan with a digital finger scanner.

You should ensure that their fingertips are free from any forms of decoration (henna, for example), abrasions or other markings, and that any facial cuts and bruises have healed or disappeared prior to providing their biometric data as these may affect their ability to provide acceptable finger-scans and photographs.

Applicants who are physically unable to provide a fingerprint scan will have to provide a medical certificate to support their claim.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – Visa Information System (VIS)

  • What is biometrics enrollment for Visa?

    This is a simple and discreet procedure completed and submitted along with your application form.

  • Who has to apply for the Biometrics?

    Foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area visiting the Schengen countries

  • Why must I give my biometrics as part of my application?

    Providing biometrics helps to protect the identities of genuine applicants. It is easier for individuals to prove their identity and their travel status. It helps the Schengen countries tackle immigration abuse and identity fraud just to name a few.

  • Where can I complete this procedure?

    You will be able to enroll your biometric information at the Visa Application Center after you submit your application. Please visit the website at or call our helpline for more information.

  • What happens when I enroll my Biometrics information?

    Enrolling your biometric information is a quick and clean process. We use the photograph submitted to us on the application for a facial scan, then you put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned - there is no ink or mess. We are aware of the need to protect the dignity, privacy and modesty of applicants, and there will be special arrangements for applicants where needed.

  • How long does it take?

    The biometric enrolment process takes up to 10 minutes. There may be a short wait while we check your data.

  • What about any medical or physical conditions that may require to provide the applicant with special arrangements?

    If you or any dependents who are applying with you have a medical or physical condition which may require special arrangements to be made in order for your biometric features to be recorded, you must obtain a letter or other document giving the details of any such condition and enclose it with your application. Appropriate documentary evidence would be a letter from a treating clinician, such as a practicing doctor registered with the General Medical Council, giving details of the condition and/or special needs and explaining any arrangements that may be necessary.

  • What happens if I refuse to give my biometrics?

    If an applicant fails to make arrangements to provide their biometrics their application will be rejected.

  • Why do I have to be fingerprinted again when I gave my biometrics overseas as part of my visa/entry clearance application?

    This is to verify that an individual making an application is the same person who applied for the visa overseas and who came through the border.

  • Do children below 12 years are required to be present in person to lodge visa application at the visa application centre?

    Yes, it is mandatory for children below 12 years to be present in person to lodge the application at the visa application centre.

  • Can children between the age group of 12 to 18 years lodge an application without any accompanying adult?

    No, children between the age group of 12 to 18 years are required to accompany either parent or guardian to lodge an application at the visa application centre. The accompanying adult is required to be present in the biometric booth at the time of biometric enrollment

  • Where can I access more information?

    You can get more information at the Visa Application Center