Bulgaria and Romania will have read-only access to the Visa Information System, the database that connects EU border guards with Member States’ consulates around the world, starting in July 2021, according to a decision taken by the European Commission on Friday, after both countries successfully completed a series of technical tests necessary to connect to the system.
According to Agerpres, read-only access means that these Member States will be able to access information that already exists in the system and will not be able to enter new information, the EU Executive said in a press release.
Access to the Visa Information System means that Bulgaria and Romania will be able to see a visa history of an applicant, which will make it easier for them to process visa applications. This will also allow Bulgarian and Romanian border guards to verify the validity and authenticity of Schengen visas issued by other Member States by comparing data stored in the Visa Information System, which will be very helpful in preventing fraud and combating serious crime and terrorism, thus increasing security in the EU.
Access to the Visa Information System for reading will be required for Bulgaria and Romania to be able to manage the Entry/Exit System, which is expected to become operational in the first half of 2022.
Full access to the Visa Information System will become possible once Bulgaria and Romania will be fully integrated into the Schengen area.
The Commission reiterated its call on the Council to take the necessary measures to make Bulgaria and Romania part of the area without internal border controls under the Strategy towards a stronger and more resilient Schengen area, presented in June this year.