NEWS

European Countries May Require Biometrics on Visitors

By Laura Spadanuta, Assistant Editor

A visit to any of the European Union countries may get more complicated if the EU passes proposals that would require all non-European visitors to submit biometric data before crossing EU borders.

The proposal would apply to visitors who do not need a visa to visit the EU, such as citizens of the United States, according to the International Herald Tribune. The article states that low-risk, frequent travelers would be allowed through fast-track checkpoints. Those travelers will be prescreened.

The proposals are an attempt to curb illegal immigration, as well as organized crime and terrorism. Also included among the proposals is a measure to track and surveill suspected illegal immigrants with unmanned aerial vehicles and satellites.

Non-visa required visitors would have to be fingerprinted and have a digitalized facial image taken upon entry to the EU country.  Visa-required visitors would have to provide the data at European consulates in their own countries before leaving. That information, as well as records of entry and exit, will be stored electronically.

The IHT points out that the United States already has a similar program in place:

The United States routinely requires European citizens to submit fingerprints when crossing its borders and the commission's document notes that America plans to introduce an electronic travel-authorization system for people from countries like Britain, France and Germany that are in its Visa Waiver Program.

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