Bern, Switzerland (20 Minutes, Fre) – Travel on a train in Valais or Ticino and you should not be asked by a customs officer to show your goods – a situation that will soon change. Switzerland became part of the Schengen Area 12 December, which allows travelers to enter and leave Switzerland without routine passport checks. Customs officers continue to check goods, however, and part of this work involves running checks on international trains that pass through Switzerland, a job border guards have done since 2002 inside cantons with international borders.
The change since Schengen extends their checks to the rest of the country, but it requires an agreement between the federal border guards and each canton. To date, 20 Minutes reports, only 13 of the 26 Swiss cantons have signed, although several others are nearing agreement.
The information comes to light following an incident in Fribourg where passengers were asked to show their passports. Bern and Vaud have agreements allowing the customs officers to work on trains, but not Fribourg, situated between the two. Officials have played down the incident as a misunderstanding and a temporary situation.