Source: Council of the European Union
Due to its geographical position in the heart of Europe, the Federal Republic of Germany is an important country of destination and transit for people all over the world. In principle, they need a residence permit issued by a German mission abroad before entering Germany. Worldwide, almost 200 German missions abroad of all sizes are authorized to grant visas.
The Visa Division at the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) serves as a communication and service interface between German missions abroad and numerous agencies in Germany which have to be consulted depending on the circumstances. These include foreigners authorities, International Placement Services (ZAV) of the Federal Employment Agency and national security agencies. In addition, Schengen partners are consulted with respect to any reservations regarding entry or security prior to the issue of a Schengen visa according to their security interests (visa consultation procedure ‘ViKon’).
Furthermore, applicants' data are checked against various national and European registers, including the Central Register of Foreigners, the Visa Warning File, the wanted property data file ISAD, as well as the Schengen Information System (SIS) and the wanted property data file SIS-SF at the European level.
Consulting of the agencies mentioned above and checking registers helps to quickly provide missions abroad with a comprehensive and accurate basis so that they can take an appropriate decision on the submitted applications.
On average, the Federal Office of Administration (BVA) receives a request from the missions abroad approximately every ten seconds – around the clock, seven days a week. Each year, about two million visa applications are processed at the BVA, most of them fully automated, within a few seconds. The complex German visa procedure requires the use of modern technology in order to meet the high demand for efficiency and security. For this purpose we use a biometric procedure to identify photographs, for example, and an alphanumeric search procedure.
As a data exchange point in visa procedures, the BVA makes an important contribution to economic, personal and intercultural transnational exchange while protecting national and European security interests.