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Schengen Borders Code

This regulation modifies existing legislation on border checks carried out on people. It is intended to improve the legislative part of the integrated border management policy by setting out the rules on crossing external borders and on reintroducing checks at internal borders.

ACT

Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) [See amending act(s)].

SUMMARY

This regulation applies to any person crossing the internal * or external * borders of a European Union (EU) country.

External borders

External borders may be crossed only at border crossing-points and during the fixed opening hours.

When crossing an external border, European Union (EU) citizens and other persons enjoying the right of free movement within the EU (such as the family members of an EU citizen) undergo a minimum check. This minimum check is carried out to establish their identity on the basis of their travel documents and consists of a rapid and straightforward verification of the validity of the documents and a check for signs of falsification or counterfeiting. Non-EU country nationals are subject to thorough checks. These comprise a verification of the conditions governing entry, including verification in the Visa Information System (VIS) and, if applicable, of documents authorising residence and the pursuit of a professional activity.

For stays not exceeding three months per a six-month period, a non-EU country national must:

  • possess a valid travel document;
  • possess a valid visa, if required;
  • justify the purpose of his/her intended stay and have sufficient means of subsistence;
  • not have an alert issued for him/her in the Schengen Information System (SIS) for the purpose of refusing entry;
  • not be considered a threat to public policy, internal security, public health or the international relations of EU countries.

If these conditions are not met, entry to the territory is refused, unless special provisions (e.g. for humanitarian reasons) apply.

The travel documents of non-EU country nationals are systematically stamped upon entry and exit. If a travel document does not bear an entry stamp, it may be presumed that the holder does not fulfil, or no longer fulfils, the conditions of stay. However, the non-EU country national may provide any credible evidence of having respected the conditions relating to the duration of a short stay, such as transport tickets or proof of his/her presence outside the territory of the EU countries.

Border checks * are carried out by border guards *. When performing their duties, border guards must fully respect human dignity and may not discriminate against persons on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

EU countries must deploy appropriate staff and resources in sufficient numbers to ensure a high and uniform level of control * at their external borders. They must ensure that border guards are specialised and properly trained professionals. EU countries assist each other with the effective application of border controls. Operational cooperation is coordinated by the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the EU Countries (FRONTEX).

Internal borders

Irrespective of nationality, any person may cross the internal borders at any crossing-point without checks being carried out. The police may exercise their powers in border zones in the same fashion as elsewhere in their territory, provided that this is not equivalent to the exercise of border checks.

EU countries must remove all obstacles to fluid traffic flow at road crossing-points at internal borders.

Where there is a serious threat to public policy or internal security, an EU country may exceptionally reintroduce border controls at its internal borders for, in principle, a limited period of no more than thirty days. If such controls are to be reintroduced, the other EU countries and the Commission should be informed as soon as possible. The European Parliament should also be informed.

Consultations take place between EU countries and the Commission at least fifteen days before the planned date for the reintroduction of border controls, in order to organise mutual cooperation and to examine the proportionality of the measures to the events giving rise to the reintroduction. The decision to reintroduce border controls at internal borders must be taken in a transparent manner and the public must be informed in full, unless there are overriding security reasons for not doing so.

Under exceptional circumstances, the EU country concerned may reintroduce checks at its internal border immediately, if required by considerations of public order or national security. The other EU countries and the Commission are then notified accordingly.

Background

The Commission communication of 7 May 2002 on the integrated management of external borders set out five essential components for a common policy, including the establishment of a common body of legislation. This was to include a recast of the Common Manual on external borders. The Thessaloniki European Council on 19 and 20 June 2003 invited the Commission to present proposals for said recasting as soon as possible.

This regulation repeals Articles 2 to 8 of the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 and the Common Manual on external borders.

Key terms used in the act
  • Internal borders: common land borders, including river and lake borders, of EU countries, airports for internal flights, and sea, river and lake ports for regular ferry connections.
  • External borders: EU countries' land borders, including river and lake borders, sea borders and their airports, river ports, sea ports and lake ports, provided that they are not internal borders.
  • Border control: activities carried out at a border, in response exclusively to an intention to cross a border, and consisting of border checks and border surveillance.
  • Border checks: checks carried out at border crossing-points to ensure that persons, including their means of transport and the objects in their possession, may be authorised to enter or leave the territory of the EU countries.
  • Border guard: any public official assigned, in accordance with national law, to a border crossing point or along the border or the immediate vicinity of that border and who carries out border control tasks.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 562/2006

13.10.2006

-

OJ L 105 of 13.4.2006

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 296/2008

10.4.2008

-

OJ L 97 of 9.4.2008

Regulation (EC) No 81/2009

24.2.2009

-

OJ L 35 of 4.2.2009

Regulation (EC) No 810/2009

5.10.2009

-

OJ L 243 of 15.9.2009

Regulation (EU) No 265/2010

5.4.2010

-

OJ L 85 of 31.3.2010

AMENDMENT OF ANNEXES

Annex V, Part A – Procedures for refusing entry at the border:
Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 [Official Journal L 243 of 15.9.2009].

RELATED ACTS

Council Decision 2010/252/EU of 26 April 2010 supplementing the Schengen Borders Code as regards the surveillance of the sea external borders in the context of operational cooperation coordinated by the European Agency for the management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [Official Journal L 111 of 4.5.2010].

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 21 September 2009 on the operation of the provisions on stamping of travel documents of third-country nationals in accordance with Articles 10 and 11 of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code) [COM(2009) 489 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 23.04.2010
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