How does SMILE Action align with EU initiatives on border control?

European Travel Information and Authorisation System

ETIAS is an electronic system that aims at enhancing the security of travel in the Schengen area under visa-free agreements. The pre-registration application that SMILE proposes is being developed to be fully in line with the ETIAS regulation. The information that the SMILE app will ask from the traveller is being based on the ETIAS form, and even extended, with the consultation of SMILE’s end-users. Any user registered in the SMILE system, will already be ETIAS checked. In the case where the origin country is not in the ETIAS list (VISA exempt), then additional information regarding his/her VISA will be requested. After the data submission, the SMILE’s back-end system will perform all the checks described in the ETIAS regulation and, if necessary, it will request further investigation from the appropriate authorities, according to the regulation and the national laws. The result of the application will be communicated to the traveller through the SMILE application directly, and via email if requested. Thus, when SMILE is finalized and operational, it will serve as a fully functional ETIAS endpoint. Additionally, although it won’t be implemented/tested, the SMILE system could be able to support also VISA applications directly from its application.

Entry – Exit System

EES will provide information to border authorities during border checks on refusals of entry, the maximum length of authorised stay, over-stayers etc. Moreover, it will support the identification of high-risk persons, by checking against security databases, including a record of travel history for non-EU nationals. SMILE is essentially an entry-exit system. At its completion, it will offer all the functionalities of the EES, but it will advance over it, by using the pre-registration concept. Hence, by providing travel data before the actual border crossing, will offer a chance to the Border Authorities to have more time to perform the necessary checks on travellers, thus minimizing the risk of a high-risk person going through the borders, due for example to high traffic at a border crossing point. Furthermore, SMILE aims to integrate with legacy national and international systems, allowing an easier transition from the existing border checking systems to the new ones.

Interoperability proposal

The interoperability proposal includes four main elements targeting to close the information gap between the currently established EU information systems for security, border and migration management. The new tools will allow law enforcement officers to have faster, more reliable and complete information on people posing a security threat. These are: (i) a European search portal; (ii) a shared biometric matching service, (iii) a common identity repository and, (iv) a multiple identity detector. The Interoperability proposal involves existing and under-development EU information systems: SISII, VIS, EES, EURODAC, ETIAS, ECRIS-TNC, and SLTD. SMILE will facilitate the proposed framework, as it will integrate with all the systems involved in the proposal and address all the elements mentioned above. We designed SMILE to be able to interface with all the EU information systems, as well as any national systems requested. By interfacing with all these systems, and allowing communication between the various national instances, SMILE will be able to serve as a common identity repository and provide a European search portal. Moreover, SMILE will develop a shared biometrics service, allowing the biometric verification of travellers across multiple systems. Hence, with SMILE’s functionality interfacing with a large number of information systems, detection of multiple identities will be highly effective.