All diplomatic representations of the Schengen member states have to capture the biometric data (finger scans and facial image) of persons applying for a Schengen visa. The data will be kept in the Visa Information System (VIS) for 5 years.
If your finger scans have not been collected yet, personal appearances when applying for a Schengen visa is mandatory.
If your finger scans were collected within the last 59 months then you won’t have to give new fingerprints for your next visa application(s) and personal appearance is not necessary. However, you have to provide a copy of your previously issued Schengen visa sticker. If you are not sure or do not remember whether your fingerprints have been captured for a Schengen visa within the last 59 months, you have to appear in person.
You will still have to appear in person to give your fingerprints in case the previously collected fingerprints prove to be of insufficient quality.
Personal appearances and fingerprint scan is not necessary for children under the age of 12.
The Swiss representation still reserves the right to ask the applicant to appear for a personal interview after checking his application.
A limited number of direct "appointment slots" are available at the visa section. Direct appointments can be booked only through the Call Center of VFS Global with prior registration on their site. Such appointments are subject of availability and a longer waiting period may result.