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Zurich Airport cuts passport queues with Automated Passport Control

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

Zurich Airport renovates its passport control hall which will create space for more passengers and additional border control desks. At the same time, automated passport control is introduced in collaboration with the Zurich cantonal police. This is intended to make travel more efficient for passengers.

Zurich Airport Automated Passport Control

Due to constantly increasing passenger numbers, the passport control hall at Zurich Airport is reaching the limits of its capacity at peak times. The airport operator is therefore renovating the passport control hall and creating additional space for control units and passengers. The renovation of the passport control hall is taking place in close collaboration with the Zurich cantonal police, who are responsible for the border control process. The renovation of the passport control hall is intended to modernize the border control process and also increase capacity. For this reason, eight automated gates have been installed at the local immigration point, and these gates will become operational on 27 September 2017. With automated passport control, passengers can pass through the Schengen border on their own, as biometric data in their passport are used. Automated passport control at Zurich Airport is voluntary for passengers. The staffed passport counters can still be used with no restrictions.

The renovation of the passport control hall is set to be completed by mid-2018. Until then, experiences with automated passport control at the local immigration point will also be gathered and evaluated. Depending on the outcome, five further automated gates will also be installed for departures, also by mid-2018. The cost of expanding the passport control hall and installing the additional desks and gates amounts to around eight million Swiss francs. This cost will be borne jointly by the airport operator, the canton of Zurich and the European Internal Security Fund (ISF).

Automated passport control in detail   
Passengers who would like to use an automated passport control gate must fulfil the following conditions: 

• Be at least 18 years old
• Have a biometric passport/e-passport (not an ID card)
• Be a citizen of Switzerland or an EU/EEA country

Step 1
Passenger places his or her biometric passport on the passport reader at the security gate and waits until the document's validity has been checked and the entrance doors open.

Step 2
When passenger sets foot in the security gate, a biometric comparison is made between an image of his or her face (live recording) and the electronic photo stored in the e-passport. At the same time as the biometric facial verification, the personal details are checked.

Step 3
Once the check has been successfully completed, the exit doors open and the passenger leaves the gate. If the check indicates any irregularity or if further clarification is required, a manual check is carried out. After the passenger has left the gate, the biometric data collected during the control are immediately deleted.

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