Enhanced identity checks at the entrance and exit of the Schengen area
Friday, 31 March 2017
As of April 7, identity checks will be reinforced at the entrance and exit of the Schengen area to ensure greater security. Belgians, EU nationals and members of their families will thus be subject to stricter border checks at airports, seaports and international railway stations. These changes could lead to longer waiting times, the Federal Police warned on Friday.
Until recently, at border controls, police checked the validity and authenticity of the passport identity documents and ensured that the photographs on them matched the faces of the persons that owned them. This method of checking will continue for travel within the Schengen area.
On the other hand, the new Article 8.2 of the Schengen Borders Code provides for a strengthening of security measures when entering or leaving the same area. Police will now have to systematically consult police databases. Controls will include people traveling to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Africa, Asia and other tourist destinations outside the Schengen area. In the case of known or reported persons, the travelers in question will be subject to appropriate inspections.
These reinforced checks will be applied at all border crossing points in the Schengen area, in particular the airports of Zaventem, Bierset, Gosselies, Deurne, Ostend and Wevelgem. They will also apply to all persons taking the train to London as well as anyone wishing to enter or leave the Schengen area via the ports of Ghent, Antwerp, Ostend, Zeebrugge, Blankenberge or Nieuport. Waiting times should increase in these areas, warn the Federal Police, who invite travelers to arrive early enough in advance to be able to start their respective journeys without problems.