France, in line with all the countries of the Schengen Area, began issuing biometric visas to Indian citizens with effect from November 2, 2015, facilitating travel throughout the area besides easing the process of issuing long-term visas. The French embassy in India will offer a large number of three or five year circulation visas to frequent visitors to the country.With the launch of eight new VFS centres, the number has come up to 14, ensuring best possible proximity to applicants. Children below 12 years of age will be exempted from the procedure. The recorded biometric data will be stored for a period of 59 months, obviating the need for the applicants to come in person for renewal. The data recorded by France will be valid during the period for all the Schengen Area countries.The new system has been introduced to protect and assist visa applicants, to enhance the confidentiality and security of individual data and while reducing risks of fraud and identity theft. The applicant is obliged to come in person only once and the visa can be collected by any authorised person. Visas issued prior to the introduction of biometrics will be valid.The transition to biometrics will neither alter the visa issuance period nor the fee.