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  • The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have tightened the Schengen Borders Code regulations on external border crossings. Effective 7 April, 2017 all persons crossing an external border will undergo thorough checks.

    The change of Schengen Borders Code regulations imposes an obligation on all EU Member States to carry out thorough checks of every person who enters or leaves the Schengen area. The Schengen Borders Code was amended in response to the terrorist threat that continues to exist in Europe.

    Until now, persons who enjoyed the right to free movement pursuant to EU law, i.e. Polish citizens, among others, underwent the so-called minimum check. Starting Friday, 7 April, everyone who crosses an external border at any of the border crossings, both road, sea and airport crossing points, will be subject to thorough checks. The tightened regulations mean that, in addition to identity and citizenship checks run on the person crossing a Schengen border as well as verification of the authenticity and validity of a travel document authorising its holder to cross the border, every traveller will be checked in domestic and European databases to see that he or she is not considered a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or international relations of any of the EU Member States.

    The tightened regulations will affect the duration of border checks at border crossing points in Poland (in the case of borders with non-Schengen countries) and can make them last longer. In order to reduce the negative consequences of the new regulations, the situation will be monitored on an ongoing basis by the Polish Border Guard and adequate measures will be taken depending on the intensity of border traffic and the travellers’ waiting time for border checks.



    The border free Schengen Area established by 26 Schengen States of the EU has set up a common visa policy for short stays up to 90 days within every 180 days period.

    Please note that the Polish Consular Office is competent to process visa application only if Poland is your sole destination, or if your trip plan includes more destinations and you stay in Poland most of the time, or if no main destination can be determined Poland is the first port of entry to the Schengen zone.

    The Schengen Information System (SIS) is the information system that supports external border controls and law enforcement cooperation in the Schengen States. The SIS enables police and border guards to consult certain categories of wanted or missing persons.

    The Visa Information System (VIS) allows to exchange visa data. It processes data and decisions relating to applications for short-stay visas to visit, or to transit through, the Schengen Area. The system can perform biometric matching, primarily of fingerprints, for identification and verification purposes. Individuals applying for a Schengen visa will be required to provide their biometric data (fingerprints and a digital photograph). It is a simple and discreet procedure that only takes a few minutes. Biometric data, along with the data provided in the Schengen visa application form, will be recorded in the VIS central database. Biometric technology will better protect visa applicants against identity theft and prevent false identifications, which in certain cases lead to refusing a visa or entry to a person who is entitled to enter. It is used commonly in the EU to make travel documents more secure (e.g. for the issuance of passports to EU citizens, including diplomatic passports holders).

    Exemptions from the fingerprinting requirement are provided for:

    - children under the age of twelve;

    - persons for whom the collection of fingerprints is physically impossible;

    - Heads of State and members of national Governments, with accompanying spouses, and the members of their official delegation when they are invited by Member States' governments or by international organizations for an official purpose;

    - Sovereigns and other senior members of a royal family, when they are invited by Member States' governments or by international organizations for an official purpose.

    Tags: Schengen

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