Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Iceland to Fully Apply EU/EES Regulation by 2022

Like other Schengen Area member countries, Iceland will have to implement the European Entry/Exit System (EU/EES) regulation by 2022. Following EU/EES regulations, travellers’ biometric identification and verification at all border crossing points, whether land, air, or sea, will be based on facial images and four fingerprints, reports.

In 2019, Keflavik International Airport (KEF), Iceland’s largest airport, reported 7.2 million passengers, with half of them being incoming travellers.

The airport has undergone many changes in recent years by welcoming approximately 29 airlines from 78 destinations. It also intends to fully apply the EU/EES system regulations based on travellers’ unique physical features.

This transition means a longer processing time for Third Country Nationals (TCNs) since the procedure can take almost three times longer than it currently does.

Nevertheless, the country is considered to be at the forefront of innovation by implementing high-tech systems that can simultaneously manage security and welcome the increasing traveller’s number.

In 2020, Iceland, through the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police (NCIP) and Isavia, operator of Iceland’s airports, chose IDEMIA as the partner for developing and implementing a border management system for all borders. IDEMIA will start operating in 2021 and administer throughout the manual and automated biometric technologies an average of ten million travellers yearly.

The new system aims to increase efficiency to make Keflavik grow as a hub, accelerate automation at border control, reduce staff and space requirements, and reinforce security controls at borders.

An additional border control area will be established in 2024, which will be created by expanding the airport to facilitate a larger immigration hall.

Previously, the Keflavik Immigration area deployed a pilot kiosk that collected data over a six-month period. During this time, Isavia and NCIP could evaluate the data, processing times, and other operating-related features.

Reinforcing efficiency, security, establishing an entirely compliant EES border control process for TCNs, and including automated border control for travellers are also essential to Iceland’s vision.

IDEMIA, Iceland’s operating system, aims to strengthen border security and management for the EU Schengen Area countries through the Entry/Exit System. The EES is expected to start operating by February 2022.

Previously, Kevin Lecuivre, the managing director of Coppernic, a French company offering software services, suggested that the EU should operate through the latter and not work with suppliers coming from China or other countries.

The EU plans to invest €34.9 billion on the new system for 2021-2027. Of the total, 75 per cent of the amount will be covered by the EU, whereas 25 per cent will have to be paid by the Member States themselves.

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