EU to apply new procedures for North African visa applicants

European Union countries will begin implementing a new system in mid-October for North Africans applying for visas, Ambassador Marc Franco, head of the European Union delegation to Egypt, said Tuesday.

Twenty-five EU countries signed an agreement to use the system, which is designed to facilitate procedures for visa applicants and guarantee data secrecy.

"European embassies in several south Mediterranean countries, like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, will apply this system, which depends on biometric fingerprints,” Franco said in a press conference at the French Embassy in Cairo.

The information will be saved in a database in Strasbourg, France, which all EU countries will be able to access so applicants won't need to go through multiple visa procedures if they wish to travel to more than one country.

“Information will be kept for five years on the database,” Franco said.

The system will apply to most applicants, except those who hold diplomatic passports, accompany ministers and presidents, are under 12 years old, or have health conditions that prevent them from going to consulates for the biometric fingerprint procedure.

The EU chose to start applying the system in North African countries because of its strong relations with them, Franco said.

Regarding whether the new system would apply to Israelis, EU representatives said the EU doesn't require visas for Israelis because they don't travel to France or the EU illegally.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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