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Local border traffic at external land borders

Local border traffic at external land borders

 

SUMMARY OF:

Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 – rules on local border traffic at the external land borders of EU countries and amendments to the Schengen Convention

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE REGULATION?

It lays down a local border traffic regime at the external land borders of European Union countries and introduces a local border traffic permit for that purpose.

KEY POINTS

Conditions of entry and stay

Local border traffic refers to the regular and frequent crossing of the EU's external border by nationals of neighbouring non-EU countries resident in the border areas of the EU, for legitimate reasons.

These border residents may cross the external land border of an EU country provided that:

  • they are in possession of a permit issued to allow this crossing (and of a passport, if required in the bilateral agreement);
  • they are not persons in respect of whom the Schengen Information System has been alerted; and
  • they are not deemed to be a threat to public order.

These persons are authorised to stay in the border area for a maximum duration stipulated in the bilateral agreement between an EU country and the neighbouring non-EU country. The stay must not exceed 3 months.

It applies to Iceland and Norway since it constitutes a development of the Schengen acquis (i.e. the existing EU laws on the Schengen area – an area in Europe without internal borders in which citizens, many non-EU nationals and tourists can freely move without border checks), as well as to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It does not apply to Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Permits

Border residents are given a permit limited to the border area which is valid for between 1 and 5 years.

These permits have the same security features as residence permits.

The fees will be equivalent to those payable for a short-term multiple-entry visa. However, EU countries are free to decide to reduce or even waive the fees.Under Regulation (EU) 2017/1954, which amends Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 on the EU format for residence permits for non-EU nationals, security features of local border traffic permits are aligned with those of residence permits to make them more secure and to prevent fraud. The annex to Regulation (EU) 2017/1954 contains the technical specifications for the format of the front and reverse side of the card. These specifications include an identity photograph that is securely integrated into the card body and secured by a diffractive optically variable image device, the material from which the card is made (polycarbonate or an equivalent synthetic polymer), and the colour, printing process and techniques to be used.

Agreements on the implementation of the local border traffic regime

EU countries may conclude agreements on local border traffic with neighbouring non-EU countries. They may also maintain existing agreements provided these comply with this regulation. Furthermore, EU countries must ensure that non-EU countries apply the principle of reciprocity and grant comparable treatment to citizens of the EU wishing to travel to their border area.

These agreements can allow border residents to use:

  • border crossing points open only to border residents;
  • special lanes at ordinary border crossing points;
  • exceptional authorisations for border residents to cross the border outside authorised border crossing points and hours.

EU countries must enforce effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties in the event of misuse of the local border traffic regime. These may include cancelling or revoking the permit.

Inclusion of the Kaliningrad oblast (region) and certain Polish administrative districts in the eligible border area

This regulation was amended by Regulation (EU) No 1342/2011 to include the Kaliningrad oblast, along with certain Polish administrative districts in the eligible border area for the purpose of the bilateral agreement between Poland and Russia. This bilateral agreement has been suspended since 4 July 2016.

2016 Commission communication

In 2015, more than 50 million non-EU nationals visited the EU, accounting for more than 200 million border crossings at the external borders of the Schengen area. In addition to these regular travel flows, conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere triggered 1.8 million irregular border crossings at Europe's external borders in 2015 alone. Bearing these figures in mind and with the backdrop of the terrorist attacks in late 2015 and early 2016, the European Commission issued a communication setting out options on how existing and future information systems could enhance both external border management and internal security in the EU. This has served to launch work on improving the EU's data management architecture in full compliance with fundamental rights, in particular the protection of personal data.

FROM WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

It has applied since 19 January 2007.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENT

Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 laying down rules on local border traffic at the external land borders of the Member States and amending the provisions of the Schengen Convention (OJ L 405, 30.12.2006, pp. 1-22). Text republished in corrigendum (OJ L 29, 3.2.2007, p. 3-9)

Subsequent amendments to Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Stronger and Smarter Information Systems for Borders and Security (COM(2016) 205 final, 6.4.2016)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Report on the implementation and functioning of Regulation (EU) No 1342/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 as regards the inclusion of the Kaliningrad oblast and certain Polish administrative districts in the eligible border area and on the bilateral agreement concluded thereof between Poland and the Russian Federation (COM(2014) 74 final, 19.2.2014)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Second report on the implementation and functioning of the local border traffic regime set up by Regulation No 1931/2006 (COM(2011) 47 final, 9.2.2011)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation and functioning of the local border traffic regime introduced by Regulation (EC) No 1931/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on local border traffic at the external land borders of the Member States (COM(2009) 383 final, 24.7.2009)

Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 of 13 June 2002 laying down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals (OJ L 157, 15.6.2002, pp. 1-7)

See consolidated version.

last update 12.11.2018

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