New biometric control on Ukrainian border: main changes

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The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine has presented a system for fixing biometric data of foreigners and stateless persons, introduced in accordance with the decision of the National Security and Defense Council on July 10.

A demonstration of the system was held at the Kyiv airport, reports the site of the State Border Guard Service.

Presented data demonsrtrates that the relevant authorities has successfully resolved several issues that could not be answered on  the autumn after the President’s decree came into force. At the same time, some things stall remain unclear.

How the system works

Foreigners’ fingerprints will be taken at the entrance, but there is no information on plans to take photos or to collect other biometric data.

Fingerprints will be collected from all 10 fingers.

Foreigners will be divided into two categories: citizens of “countries of a migratory risk” who are obliged to give fingerprints, and the rest of the foreigners for whom the decision will be taken “on the base of analysis and risk assessment”.

“This approach will emphasize the European aspirations of Ukraine and will prevent the tourist image of the state from the harm. Also it is aimed at preventing the complication of border formalities relating to citizens of European and other countries,” – the SBGS claims.

“Countries of a migratory risk” are defined by a special document. SBGS is speaking about a list of 70 countries, including Russia. At the same time, we were not able to find the new document in open access. Old list of 86 countries and not including  Russia is still valid.

The categories of foreigners and stateless persons who are exempted from fixing biometric data are defined: heads of states and governments of foreign countries, members of parliamentary and government delegations, persons under the age of 18, cruise tourists, members of vehicle crews, diplomatic staff, officials of international organizations .

The launch of the new system will be phased: since January 1, 2018, the start of the system will be held in the capital’s international airports and at the checkpoints of the Ukrainian-Russian section of the state border.

 “Today, all checkpoints on the border with Russia are equipped with a biometric control system, and next year the remaining checkpoints, including local ones, will be equipped,” said the head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Petro Tsygikal.

It is unclear whether the system will work on the entry-exit chekpoints on the boundary line in the Eastern Ukraine. The SBGS report says that 157 checkpoints and 3 KPVBs on the administrative border with occupied Crimea should be equipped with a new system.

During the passport control, inspectors of the State Border Guard Service will check the passport documents of foreigners, including checking through the Interpol databases. They will also read out information (fingerprints) with the help of readers. Data will be sent to the biometric processing department. In addition, through the Interagency Information and Telecommunication System “Arkan”, data will be sent to the National System for Biometric Verification and Identification of Citizens of Ukraine, Foreigners and Stateless Persons of the State Migration Service.

If person crosses the border again, he/she will be identified. During identification process, the inspector will see if the person’s biometric data was already and will carry out verification. In the case of data non-matching, the person will be directed to additional control.

To sum it up, some controversial issues of recent months were successfully resolved, in particular:

– Clear definition of categories of foreigners who are subjects to strengthened control

– Reducing the number of countries in the migration risk list

– Clear definition of the procedure of enhanced control and phasing of its implementation

What still remains unclear:

– Why is there no new list of migration risks in the open access, and the old one is marked as valid?

– Why are “Crimean” entry-exit checkpoints mentioned, and those on boundary line on Donbass are not?

– Has the National System of Biometric Verification and Identification of Ukrainian Citizens, Foreigners and Stateless Persons already started its work? How does it work? What data does it operate?

– What happens to the system of pre-travel notification, the introduction of which is also envisaged by the abovementioned decision of the National Security and Defense Council of July 10?

– What for did the decision of the National Security and Defense Council envisage the construction of the Centres for Providing Administrative Serevices on the line of demarcation?\

Photo: SBGS

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