According to some news reports, all Schengen States’ consulates in New Zealand will begin using the Visa Information System (VIS). The VIS is a central database which is used for the exchange of data on short-duration (up to 90 days in any 180-day period) Schengen visas between Schengen States. The principal purpose and aims of the Schengen visa are to make visa application procedures and checks at the external border easier and also to improve security.
The gradual rollout of the VIS across the globe started way back in October 2011. Also, obviously, introduction of VIS in a specific country does not necessarily affect the nationals/citizens of that country, as for visas for short stay are concerned. This is so because citizens of some countries (for example, New Zealand) have visa-exemption status for certain types of visas, as for as Schengen countries are concerned and the VIS roll out is applicable for foreign nationals living in that country (for example, Chinese nationals living in new Zealand).
VIS requires that the visa applicant submit certain type of information. Thus, VIS requires that visa applicants furnish their biometric data which means fingerprints and a digital photograph, when applying for a Schengen visa. The procedure involved typically takes a short time and it is a simple and discreet/unobtrusive process. This biometric data and the data/information provided in the visa application form is what are stored in the VIS database. This biometric data becomes crucial to ensure that crimes such as identify theft do not occur and the visa applicant is not wrongly suspected or a similar such error occurs.
Thus, from May 15th, visa applicants who are applying for a visa application for the first time have to be present in person at the visa centre. Also, there are some exemptions for some categories of applicants (such as children under a certain age, etc.). And also, the VIS database is updated periodically and is maintained in a very safe and secure manner.