EU unveils plan to lower fingerprinting age for child Schengen visa applicants

The European Commission is consulting on proposals to lower the fingerprinting age for children in the EU’s Visa Information System (VIS).

The changes would see children as young as six years old fingerprinted when applying for a visa to a country in the Schengen area, which includes most EU member states but not Ireland or the UK.

At present, only children aged 12 or over are fingerprinted.

European authorities believe reducing the age will help contribute to child protection by tackling child trafficking, children going missing, child abduction and irregular migration involving minors.

The consultation is part of the Commission’s broader plan to put forward a revision of the legal basis of the VIS next year.

Contributions are being sought from individuals, public authorities, including national data protection authorities and child protection authorities and the Ombudsperson for Children, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), the EU Agency of Fundamental Rights (FRA) as well as civil society and academic institutions and can be submitted through an online questionnaire.