July 18, 2014 -
The Finnish Border Guard’s Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District recently began testing automated border control gates at the Port of Helsinki’s West Terminal for all Russian cruise passengers who require visas.
The EU External Borders Fund backed trial runs for five months and is intended to prepare the Gulf of Finland Coast Guard for the EU-wide transition over to new systems designed to enable more seamless border crossings.
Though ABC gates have been used at the Port of Helsinki’s West Terminal since 2012, this latest move expands their use to citizens from the European Union, European Economic Area, and Switzerland.
These gates, which can be used for both arriving and departing passengers, now feature extra hardware and software, including fingerprint scanners.
In order to use the ABC gates, passengers will need to have a valid passport and a valid visa. Once passengers successfully scan their passport and the visa, they are instructed to participate in the photograph and fingerprint recognition process — the latter of which is not required on departure.
After passing through the gate, the passenger will be greeted by a border control guard who will stamp their passport and ask the essential questions.
The Finnish Border Guard website features a video clip that illustrates the entire ABC gate process.
The Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District has been using automated border control gates at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport since 2008. At the time, use was restricted solely to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens.
In spring 2013, the airport began a trial run which expanded the use of the ABC gates to third-country citizens not requiring a visa. The ABC gates are now open to citizens of Japan, South Korea, the USA and Canada.