Monday

22nd May 2017

Biometric data to appear on EU passports

  • Digital photos and fingerprints might become a feature of next years' EU passports (Photo: European Commission)

The EU is edging closer to introducing biometric information – digital photos and fingerprints - on visas and residence permits for third-country nationals, paving the way for this measure to be introduced on EU citizens' passports.

The Commission hopes an agreement on visas and residence permits for third-country nationals will be reached before the end of the year.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

These personal details will be stored on national and EU-wide databases and be accessible through the Visa Information System (VIS), which Statewatch, the Civil Liberties Watchdog says could be accessed by tens of thousands of officials.

"How long will it be before biometrics collected for travel documents will be used for other purposes?", Statewatch editor Tony Bunyan said.

Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Antonio Vitorino made it clear yesterday that biometric information will also be introduced in EU citizens' passports.

This controversial plan comes as the US has said it will start demanding visas from EU citizens from 26 October 2004 if they do not have biometric data on their passports.

"We are of course having talks with the US", Commissioner Vitorino told a press conference yesterday afternoon, saying that the most important issue was to have EU travelling documents that "are protected against any forgery and are secure".

However, Tony Bunyan said, "These proposals are yet another result of the 'war on terrorism' which show that the EU is just as keen as the US to introduce systems of mass surveillance which have much more to do with political and social control than fighting terrorism".

EU and US discuss in-flight laptop ban

A meeting between US and EU officials in Brussels on possibly imposing a laptop ban on commercial flights was described by one senior Trump administration official as "robust".

EU visa waiver looms for Russia-annexed Crimeans

Visa liberalisation for Ukrainians entering the EU will also apply to inhabitants of the peninsula taken over by Moscow in 2014. But the issue poses administrative as well as political problems.

US questions visa waivers for EU nationals

A Republican congressman heading a taskforce on denying terrorists entry into the United States says that EU nationals pose a security risk, as some have fought alongside jihadists and wouldn't need visas to enter the US.

EU keeps visa-free travel for US visitors

Efforts by the European Parliament to scupper visa-free travel for Americans, in light of US restrictions on some EU states, were dashed on Tuesday by the European Commission.

EU visa waiver looms for Russia-annexed Crimeans

Visa liberalisation for Ukrainians entering the EU will also apply to inhabitants of the peninsula taken over by Moscow in 2014. But the issue poses administrative as well as political problems.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  2. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  4. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  5. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  6. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  7. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  8. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus
  10. ACCABanishing Bias? Audit, Objectivity and the Value of Professional Scepticism
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Oslo Climate Declaration Focuses on Rising Temperatures in the Arctic
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceAbdominal Obesity: A Causal Risk Factor for Cardiometabolic Diseases