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Establishment of the Visa Information System (VIS) - Stage 1


Council Decision 2004/512/EC of 8 June 2004 establishing the Visa Information System (VIS). 


The Visa Information System (VIS) is based on a centralised architecture. It consists of a central information system, the “Central Visa Information System” (CS-VIS), of an interface in each Member State, the “National Interfaces” (NI-VIS) that provide the connection to the relevant central national authorities of the respective Member States, and of a communication infrastructure between the Central Visa Information System and the National Interfaces.

The Commission is responsible for developing the:

  • Central Visa Information System;
  • National Interface in each Member State;
  • communication infrastructure between the Central Visa Information System and the National Interfaces.

The national infrastructures are adapted by the Member States.

The measures to be developed by the Commission are adopted in accordance with the advisory procedure of the comitology Decision 1999/468/EC for matters relating to the:

  • design of the physical architecture of the system;
  • technical aspects that have a bearing on the protection of personal data;
  • technical aspects that have serious financial implications for the budgets of the Member States or that have serious technical implications for the national systems of the Member States;
  • development of security requirements, including biometric aspects.

Other necessary measures are adopted using the management procedure of the comitology Decision.

The Commission will submit a yearly progress report to the European Parliament and the Council, starting in the year following the signing of the contract for the development of the VIS.


The Seville European Council on 21 and 22 June 2002 considered the establishment of a common identification system for visa data a top priority and called for its introduction as soon as possible. In response to this request, the Commission presented a feasibility study in May 2003. The Council welcomed the study in June 2003 and invited the Commission to continue its preparatory work on the development of the VIS.

This Decision constitutes the required legal basis to allow for the inclusion of the necessary appropriations for the development of the VIS in the general budget of the EU. The Decision follows from the European Council in Thessaloniki on 19 and 20 June 2003, which deemed that orientations should be determined with regard to the planning for the development of the VIS, together with the appropriate legal basis permitting its establishment and the engagement of the necessary financial means.


Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2004/512/EC



OJ L 231 of 15.6.2004


Commission Decision 2008/602/EC of 17 June 2008 laying down the physical architecture and requirements of the national interfaces and of the communication infrastructure between the central VIS and the national interfaces for the development phase [Official Journal L 194 of 23.7.2008].
The Annex to this Decision establishes the design of the physical architecture and the network requirements for the NI-VIS and for the communication infrastructure between the NI-VIS and the CS-VIS.

Last updated: 03.11.2008

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