Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Cointrin Airport won’t look the same to you Sunday if you’re fliying to or from Britain or Ireland or any other non-Schengen country. Swiss airports have been working with the European Union for some months to bring security systems into line, the last step in Switzerland dropping routine border controls to allow the free movement of people within the Schengen Area, to which Switzerland belongs.
Passport controls go, customs checks remain
Land border controls ended in 2008, but airports caused a problem, in part because of the large amount of traffic between Switzerland and two EU countries that are not part of the Schengen area, the UK and Ireland.
As of Sunday, when the new rules go into effect, here is what to expect in Geneva, where recent major renovations have included building a new terminal to handle non-Schengen flights:
ID cards needed for flights within Schengen Area
- Flights leaving for non-Schengen countries: passport control remains, but passengers will be sent to the new Terminal 10. Note that you must allow 10-15 minutes to walk from the check-in area to the new terminal. Passengers with Swiss or European Union passports will have expedited passport controls.
- Flights within the Schengen Area: the passport control desk is gone, so you go directly to the security area. You must have a valid identity card.
- Flights for France: the passport control is gone, but note that you must still pass through customs.
- Returning flights: from non-Schengen countries, you will enter by Terminal 10.
Customs officers will still be checking passengers and there is no change to rules about what you can bring into Switzerland and what you must declare.
GenevaLunch will publish a feature story Monday on changes at the airport, in greater detail.
Details on the changes (available only in French at the moment) from Cointrin.