The Swiss Federal Council is preparing to launch the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), to be fully in effect by the middle of next year.

The Council stated it made a request to Parliament last week to apply the further development of the Visa Information System (VIS), to tackle visa, border and security policy challenges.

In addition, the Council requested Parliament amends ETIAS to make sure it is compatible with 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 stated in a press release.

Moreover, reinforcing the Visa Information System will help Switzerland and other countries with the following credentials:

  • Visas and residence permits for long-term stays are now included in the VIS
  • The age for taking fingerprints will be lowered from 12 to six years
  • The obligation to take fingerprints is abolished for the over-75s
  • Facial images are also to be captured directly on-site for enhanced identification

In regard to the ETIAS request, the Swiss Federal Council states that the interoperability is connected to the other two regulations - 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 said.

The ETIAS electronic system will keep track of visitors from non-EU countries who can enter the Schengen Area without a visa. The European Union first started work on the system in 2016, and it will be fully functional by 2023.

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