Flying to Europe will soon require fingerprinting and photos

EU fingerprinting

European countries are examining a new automated border control system that will log each traveler’s fingerprints while also taking photos of travelers.

The new system, which is meant to stop terrorism and enhance security, is expected to go into effect by 2020.

The new travel program would require authorities to take four fingerprints and a facial image of any travelers who are moving throughout the country without a passport issued by a European Union country.

The data for each traveler will be stored in a centralized system for five years.

The technology will be implemented by members of the Schengen area, which includes most EU countries, as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The U.K. will not participate in the program, but already collects biometric data in some cases.

The US Department of Homeland Security currently uses its own fingerprinting system for foreign visitors that’s designed to check for suspected terrorists, criminals and immigration violators.

The U.S. agency said its biometric system has “helped stop thousands of people who were ineligible to enter the United States.”

The European Commission was quick to say the new fingerprinting system is “not a direct response to the refugee crisis, although it contributes to the overall strengthening of our border management.”

The fingerprinting and facial photo system are not guaranteed. The proposal must still win support from EU state members and then from the European Parliament.

Implementing the system will cost about $546 million.