EES / ETIAS (Entry-Exit-System / European Travel Information and Authorisation EES System) is the core element of the EU Smart Borders project, which should lead to more effective controls at Schengen external borders. Thanks to the electronic European Travel Information and Authorisation System, visa-free travellers can be checked at an early stage.
Status and outlook
The EES/ETIAS project is under implementation. More in-depth conceptual work is due by the end of 2019. For example, the entry and exit processes must be adapted and the necessary technical resources and their use planned. The detailed specifications of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) are also part of this conceptual preparatory work. The introduction of EES/ETIAS at European level is planned for the third quarter of 2021. This also applies to Switzerland.
The EES/ETIAS project is a project of the FCA and forms part of the DaziT programme. In parallel, the SEM is also leading an EES project (Smart Borders (EES)). This ensures overarching coordination with the EU.
Objective and purpose
The Smart Borders project is a further development of the Schengen Agreement. Border controls are to be increasingly digitised and automated in order to increase the security of the Schengen area. In Switzerland, this applies to airports with international connections, as these form the Swiss external border of the Schengen area.
The Entry Exit System (EES) is used to electronically record the entry and exit of non-EU/EFTA nationals (so-called third-country nationals) into the Schengen area. It replaces the previous manual visa stamping process. The permitted length of stay is calculated automatically. Biometric identifiers (facial image and 4 fingerprints) are collected upon first entry into the Schengen area.
International data exchange makes it easier to combat illegal entry, exit or transit, illegal residence and identity fraud.
Travellers from third countries who do not require a visa for the Schengen area must at the same time register in the new, fully electronic European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) before travelling and submit an application for entry. This enables the authorities responsible for border controls to carry out security checks in the national search and migration databases (Schengen information systems) at an early stage before granting third-country nationals permission to travel in the direction of Switzerland. The more accurate the data provided by the those entering the country is, the more efficient their entry will be. This entry data can now be recorded using a mobile device before entering the country. No decision on the definitive permission to enter the country is taken by the authorities before arrival.
The EES/ETIAS project is not solely an IT project. It includes, among other things, the adaptation of border control processes, for which a business organisation concept is being developed. This also includes the introduction of new operational equipment (face and finger scanners) and structural measures at airports. EEA/ETIAS represents a first step towards the complete replacement of the FCA's border control software, which is planned for 2023 in line with the DaziT roadmap.