European Data Protection Supervisor
European Data Protection Supervisor

Common Consular Instructions

Common Consular Instructions

Friday, 27 October, 2006
27
Oct
2006

Common Consular Instructions

Opinion on the Proposal for a Regulation amending the Common Consular Instructions on visas for diplomatic missions and consular posts in relation to the introduction of biometrics including provisions on the organisation of the reception and processing of visa applications (COM (2006)269 final), JO C 321, 29.12.2006, p. 38

The proposal amends the Common consular instructions in view of the implementation of the Visa Information System (VIS). The main points of the opinion concern biometric identifiers and cooperation between consular posts in the visa procedure.
Regarding biometric identifiers, the EDPS underlines that it is a political decision rather than a purely technical one to determine from which age fingerprints shall be collected. This should not be based entirely on arguments of feasibility. Especially the mandatory fingerprinting of all children aged 6+ raises also ethical questions. The EDPS moreover recalls that all biometric identification systems are inherently imperfect and that the system therefore must provide for adequate fallback solutions.

Regarding the cooperation between consular posts and embassies of the Member States, the EDPS emphasises the need to guarantee data security, which can prove difficult in some third countries. When the processing of visa applications (including collection of biometric identifiers) is outsourced to a private company, the EDPS stresses the need for it to be located in a place under diplomatic protection.