The Information-supported, Decision-making (IOB) project was introduced to ensure that decisions on issuing short-stay Schengen visa applications by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could be taken more efficiently and more objectively. Thanks to this initiative, citizen applications are processed in shortest time possible, providing positive responses for visa applicants when possible. This allows more time for visa officers to focus on more complex applications that may involve risks.
The Application Assessment Protocols Database (BAO) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was developed. The BAO makes it possible to automatically provide all known and useful information for visa officers to issue short-stay visa applications. Visa officers process visa applications in the New Visa Information System (NVIS). NVIS consults the information held in its own system (data history and Member State data) as well as information held on the applicant or host in the BAO. Subsequently, the BAO checks what is known about the application by comparing the visa application against information on the applicant or host provided by partners in the migration system. It also checks against profiles and local information.
Once the visa application has been checked by the officer, they will be advised on how to process the application: with a ‘fast track’, an ‘intensive track’ or a ‘regular’ procedure. A visa application that generates a fast track will require less attention than an intensive track. The information from the BAO will never result in the automatic acceptance (or refusal) of a short-stay visa application. It is the visa officers who are in charge of deciding whether extra steps are needed, such as interviewing the applicant or verifying a document.
Furthermore, the project also envisages the development of an information platform called the Country Wizard (CW). The CW ensures access to all background knowledge of a country, its society and the visa population, necessary to place the visa application in the right context. This information is laid down in a uniform way per country to guarantee easy access and the information is factual, up-to-date, validated and non-discriminatory.