Performing fast and reliable immigration pre-checks and traveler registrations
Since COVID-19 hit our world, large parts of the economy have been severely affected, and the global aviation industry is no exception. However, once the current crisis has passed, as we all hope it will, traffic will progressively resume and Europe is preparing for the return of visitors.
We sat down with Pascal Fallet, Europe SVP in Sales Management at IDEMIA, to discuss about the future of the European border management as the EU-Entry/Exit system is going to affect the border-crossing process for third-country nationals entering or exiting the Schengen Area.
1. What’s happening with the new European Entry/Exit System, and when will it be rolled out?
The new system most notably includes the biometric verification and identification of travelers, based on facial image and four fingerprints, at all kinds of border crossing points: air, land and sea. Schengen States will have to implement the new entry/exit regulation by 2022.
2. What will be the impact for Schengen States?
It will undoubtedly mean an increased processing time for third-country nationals, and states will need to properly manage passenger flow at the different sites. They will have to rearrange the physical space and create additional touchpoints to handle the flows. It could take three times longer than the current border clearance process. And saving time at borders is key!
3. How can IDEMIA mitigate the impact on waiting time?
Travel infrastructures and especially airports, seaports and border authorities will need to adapt their control procedures. They will process travelers based on their specific profiles, with gates for fast processing, and specific lanes for families and other groups, depending on each country’s policy. At IDEMIA, we firmly believe that self-service kiosks will be a key factor in efficiently handling large volumes of travelers entering Europe for the first time. Not only will it make things more comfortable for them, but it also means border authorities will be able to focus on the important task of granting authorization to cross the border.
At IDEMIA, we have developed the TravelKiosk, a specific EU machine equipped with highly efficient technology, to comply with the new Entry/Exit system regulation.
4. What are the main strengths of IDEMIA’s EU TravelKiosk?
IDEMIA has taken into account the needs of three different stakeholders: travelers, border control authorities and facility operators such as airports. The Group has paid careful attention to the overall ergonomics and interactivity of the kiosk to properly manage traveler flows. Our self-service kiosk offers fast and efficient multi-biometric capabilities. It is user-friendly and, of course, interactive. To make the process as quick and smooth as possible, the traveler experience is central to the solution. The kiosk should not be a standalone machine but integrated in the whole process of a person-centric approach of border management.
5. How does IDEMIA’s solution manage the personal data of third-country nationals?
A set of alphanumeric data, as well as biometric data, will be collected, checked and stored for three years. This sensitive data needs to be highly secure. As a longstanding partner to several government agencies, we are used to working with European authorities, as well as the French data protection authority. We follow strict ethical rules governing data collection and management. Data is only collected into the European shared Biometric Matching System for purposes pursuant to the requirements of the GDPR, meaning that personal data rights are enforced and that biometric data remains in Europe.
6. What exactly is the shared Biometric Matching System?
The shared Biometric Matching System (BMS) is a new European automated multi-biometric identification system for foreign nationals. It is a central database hosted by the European agency, eu-LISA, and IDEMIA is proud to implement it with its partners, Sopra Steria and Accenture.
7. What is its purpose?
The aim of the shared BMS is to fight against illegal immigration and transborder crime. To achieve this, it will be used for the future Entry/Exit System, a central European database, as well as by all the systems already in use in the European Union, including the Schengen Information System, the Visa Information System, Eurodac for asylum seekers, and the future ECRIS-TCN for criminals. This way, the first time a third-country national comes into Europe, they are registered and searched in the shared BMS. The authorities will be able to check whether they are the person they claim to be through biometric verification, and make sure they do not overstay.
8. Is there anything else you would like to add?
The Schengen Area is the first trial of a borderless continent-wide area in the history of humankind. Thanks to the commitment of IDEMIA and our partners, and our extensive expertise in cutting-edge technologies, Europe will manage one of the largest biometric systems in the world. More than ever before, technology can make the world a safer place.