Acts related to the Smart Borders Package to enter into force next year
The President of the Republic approved supplementary legislation on the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) on 20 December. The supplementary legislation amends the national legislation as required by the relevant European Parliament and Council regulations.
The following acts are amended: the Act on the Processing of Personal Data by the Border Guard, the Border Guard Act, the Aliens Act, the Act on the Processing of Personal Data by the Police, the Act on the Processing of Personal Data by Customs, the Act on the Enforcement of Fines, and the Act on the Use of Air Carriers' Passenger Name Record Data in the Prevention of Terrorist Offences and Serious Crime.
The package is referred to as ‘Smart Borders’. The term refers to automation and new technology to be introduced in border checks. This means, for example, the automation of border crossings, the EU-wide registration of entry and exit data, and the prior registration of visa-free travellers from third countries, namely non-EU countries, on the internet. The amendments do not concern citizens of Finland or other Schengen countries.
The EES aims to improve identification of persons at external borders
The Entry/Exit System Regulation will establish a new EU-wide information system with the primary objectives of improving the management of external borders, preventing irregular immigration and facilitating the management of migration flows. The purpose is to register electronically the entry and exit data of third-country nationals who are authorised to stay in the territory of the Member States for a short period of time and to calculate the duration of their authorised stay.
The system will replace the obligation to stamp the passports of third-country nationals.
Data in the EES may be processed by border, visa and immigration authorities. In addition, the police, the Border Guard, Customs and the Defence Forces will have the right to access the system for the purpose of preventing, detecting and investigating terrorist offences and serious crimes.
ETIAS will determine in advance the conditions of entry
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is a pre-registration system for visa-exempt third-country nationals. It aims to determine in advance whether a person fulfils the conditions of entry into the country. The system also aims to enhance the effectiveness of border checks and support the objectives set for the Schengen Information System. The system will allow for advance assessment of potential security, irregular immigration or high epidemic risks already before the person arrives at the border crossing point.
The Finnish Border Guard is the national ETIAS authority in Finland. ETIAS applications will mainly be processed automatically. The ETIAS Central Unit, maintained by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), will forward applications requiring further clarification to the national units for manual processing. Data in ETIAS may be processed by border and immigration authorities. In addition, the police, the Border Guard, Customs and the Defence Forces will have the right to access the system for the purpose of preventing, detecting and investigating terrorist offences and serious crimes.
Some of the amendments to enter into force on 1 January 2023
The EES and ETIAS will be operational at a date to be decided by the European Commission when all the conditions for the start of the operations laid down in the Regulations are met. According to current estimates, the EES will be operational in May 2023 and ETIAS approximately six months after the EES has started operations. Separate provisions on the entry into force of amendments relating to the EES and ETIAS are issued by government decree.
Provisions on the limitation period of the right to impose a financial penalty on carriers and on the limitation period of the enforcement of the financial penalty will also be added to the law. In addition, situations in which a financial penalty is not imposed will be specified. Furthermore, technical amendments resulting from the update of the Schengen Convention and the Schengen Borders Code will be made to the Aliens Act. These amendments will enter into force on 1 January 2023.
Anne Ihanus, Senior Adviser for Legislative Affairs, tel. +358 295 421 608, [email protected]