The Swiss Federal Council is set to prepare on time to implement the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which will become fully effective by mid-2023.
In a press release, the Council has announced that it has sent a request to the Parliament on May 18, asking it to implement the further development of the Visa Information System (VIS) in order to better meet the new challenges in visas, border and security policy.
At the same time, it has also requested the Parliament to adapt the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) to ensure its compatibility with the other Schengen information systems.
“The first request is based on two EU regulations reforming the Visa Information System (VIS). Both regulations are further developments of the Schengen acquis, and Switzerland has committed to adopting them,” the Council notes in its press release.
It further points out that the strengthening of the VIS will help Switzerland and the rest of the Schengen countries to better meet the new challenges in visa, border and security policies, listing the following as an example:
- Visas and residence permits for long-term stays are now included in the VIS
- The age for taking fingerprints will also be reduced from 12 to six years
- The obligation to take fingerprints is abolished for those older than 75
- Facial images are also to be captured directly on-site in order to be able to better identify people
Regarding the request on ETIAS, the Council also notes that its interoperability is related to the other two regulations, that of VIS and SIS.
“In order to implement these four further developments of the Schengen acquis in national law, adjustments are necessary in the Aliens and Integration Act (AIG) and in the Federal Act on the Federal Police Information Systems (BPI),” the Council highlights.
The ETIAS is a completely electronic system that will keep track of travellers from non-EU countries who can enter the Schengen Area without a visa. The EU started working on the system back in 2016, and the same will become fully functional only next year.
A total of 63 world countries will be subject to the scheme, including here former EU member – the United Kingdom, as well as other countries like the United States, Canada, Australia, Albania, Ukraine, Georgia, North Macedonia, Japan, North Korea, etc.
It is estimated that around 1.4 billion people would be affected by the ETIAS requirement when having to travel to the Schengen Area countries. These travellers will have to go online before their trip and apply for a travel authorization through the ETIAS website, which hasn’t been developed yet. They will have to complete a form, upload a scan of their passport and a biometric photo, as well as pay a fee of €7.
More recent updates regarding ETIAS: