Switzerland targeted by Schengen visa forgers in India

The investigation is still ongoing in India. Keystone / Andy Wong

Forgers in India have faked Swiss embassy-issued Schengen visas to increase the odds of locals applying for a US visa. 

This content was published on August 22, 2019 - 11:32

Police in India have arrested four travellers with forged Schengen visas obtained via a travel agent. The fake visas in their passports were used to give the impression that they were frequent travellers and perhaps increase their chances of obtaining visas for the United States. The forged visa stickers and entry/exit stamps resembled those issued by Switzerland, France and Italy.  The American consulate in Mumbai alerted the police to the fakes earlier this month. Two forgers have also been arrested.  

The US consulate in Mumbai declined to comment on the specifics citing an ongoing criminal investigation. The Swiss migration office was able to confirm the forgeries. 

“Yes, the competent Swiss authorities are aware of such counterfeits. In the present cases, the counterfeit visas were apparently intended to facilitate allegedly access to a US visa,” stated a representative.  

The migration office added that such forged visas do not pose a threat to the Schengen area as genuine visas are crosschecked against technical information, such as biometrics. From late 2015 onwards, all Schengen visa applicants are required to provide biometric information the first time they apply. According to the Federal Office of Police (Fedpol), 36 fraudulent "Swiss" Schengen visas have been detected by Swiss authorities since 2016. This number does not include fake "Swiss" Schengen visas identified by embassy or immigration officials of other countries. 

Switzerland was the 25th country to join the 26-country Schengen zone in 2008.

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