SEF – Smart Borders: a project with a Future

The pilot tests of the European Project ‘Smart Borders’ ended on 4th June at Lisbon’s Airport. Portugal was the first Country in Europe who tested this innovative program for entry and departures of Schengen Area.

The Immigration and Borders Service, who manages the Smart Borders Project at national level in cooperation with the eu-LISA agency, will received at Lisbon’s Airport the visit of representatives from thirteen Member States, including Latvia (as EU presidency), European Commission, eu-LISA Agency and General Secretariat of the Council, with the purpose of collecting information regarding the results of the Smart Borders Project.

The tests conducted at the Lisbon’s air border although ended, will start in other Member States’ borders, hence this is a moment of share of knowledge, challenges and final results, given that Portugal was the starting point – on March 15 – of the entire European project.

This project aims at finding the best human and technological solutions for the implementation of a system for controlling the borders’ entries and exits, in Europe, of Third-country citizens, named Entry Exit System (EES). Apart from this, the European Union also wishes to test the viability of the project Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) which will allow border crossing through electronic borders to Third-country nationals, duly registered as frequent flyers.

Electronic borders (Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates) were up to this date only used by European citizens over 18-years old. During the testing period, third-country citizens, in a set of 20 countries, were able to promote the use of their electronic passport and use these devices to exit from the country.

With SEF’s management and the support of ANA/VINCI and Vision-Box®, Portugal conducted at Lisbon’s Airport, three types of tests, not simultaneous, where in addition to the use of electronic borders to exit the country were also tested, at the international arrivals area, the possibility of collection of biometric identifiers (iris, facial image and fingerprints) by using specific kiosks.

We now face ever-changing realities and one of the purposes of this project will be the examination of numbers and facts collected from the several experiences as regards the passenger point of view – foreign citizen, and also the Border Officer point of view, who has the duty to harmonise the need for a swift border control with both national and EU security.

Therefore, Portugal was a pioneer in the implementation of the Smart Borders Project and, as such, will provide a decisive contribution to final conclusions that will be presented to the European institution.

 


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