Border control

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Border control at the Lao-Thai border
Passengers at Passport Control at Frankfurt Airport (June 1988)
Customs control at Frankfurt Airport

A border control is the control of border traffic, i.e. the control of people entering and leaving the country.

Police forces , sometimes soldiers from one or both of the affected countries , are involved in border controls . They stop people at the respective borders and check their documents (authenticity and comparison with the wanted inventory). In addition, objects such as vehicles, cargo, etc. controlled.

The main purpose of border control is to prevent illegal entry into a country. Legal entry is only possible for holders of the respective citizenship , holders of visas or citizens of countries that do not require a visa for entry due to international agreements, as well as diplomats on business trips. There are also cases to prevent illegal departure. This was common in Europe until the fall of the Iron Curtain . In addition, people wanted by arrest warrant are apprehended as part of the exit controls.

At some national borders , a visa is entered in the travel documents. Depending on the bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries, border controls are carried out jointly or separately by organs of both countries.

A customs control is usually part of the border control .


Denmark planned to reintroduce permanent border controls at the border in May 2011, which was criticized by the EU Commission . In October 2011, the new social democratic government no longer pursued these plans. However, so-called situation-independent random checks and a short-term reintroduction of border controls in the event of major events are possible, which are legitimized by the Schengen Borders Code .


Design of border control and legal bases

In Germany, the control of cross-border traffic within the meaning of Section 71, Paragraph 3 of the Residence Act is generally carried out by the Federal Police . For the Port of Hamburg is Water Police Hamburg is responsible; the seaports of Bremen and Bremerhaven passed into the jurisdiction of the Federal Police through the termination of an administrative agreement by Bremen. At the federal borders with Austria and the Czech Republic, the Federal Police has been responsible for controlling cross-border traffic since 2008 . The Federal Customs Administration can either only act in accordance with Section 66 BPolG within the framework of the personnel association at border crossing points or within the framework of the delegation of tasks according to a statutory ordinance in accordance with Section 68 BPolG. However, the measures of the respective federal police authority and not the customs administration are added to.

At the EU borders of Germany ( Belgium , Denmark , France , Netherlands , Luxembourg , Austria , Poland , Czech Republic ) there are no longer any border controls due to the Schengen Agreement .

As part of the European refugee crisis , however, controls were reintroduced at the border with Austria from autumn 2015. The border controls introduced by Germany are not intended to attempt to close the borders to refugees. In the opinion of the Federal Government and the parliamentary groups represented in the Bundestag in 2017, Germany is obliged to continue to allow all those who want to seek protection in Germany to enter beyond its borders, even if they obviously come from a safe third country .


Entry into the Federal Republic of Germany is  legally defined in Section 13 (2) of the Residence Act. Accordingly, a foreigner is only considered to have entered an approved border crossing point when he has crossed the border and passed the border crossing point. The legal entry is therefore not already with entering German territory, z. B. in the transit area of ​​an airport. At the same time, a visa can also be obtained for a stay on German territory, especially in the transit area of ​​international airports . § 26 AufenthV (so-called transit visa).

Border with Switzerland

Since Switzerland also acceded to the Schengen Borders Code, border controls there also ceased to exist in December 2008. However, this does not apply to the customs surveillance of the border with the Swiss Confederation, which is still carried out by the Federal Customs Administration .


Belgian-French border on the A7 motorway near Valenciennes. Two lanes are narrowed to one lane for border control purposes by the French police.

Since November 14, 2015, following the terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015 in Paris , the Republic of France reintroduced border controls by land.


Until May 1, 2004, the time of the EU expansion, the border control was carried out by the customs guard together with the federal gendarmerie , within the scope of the federal police headquarters with the federal security guard corps and the criminal police corps. The customs guard carried out the control of goods imports and exports and was subordinate to the Ministry of Finance. The gendarmerie and police were responsible for identity checks.

From 1968 (even before there were passport controls by customs, but without an express legal basis) until the mid-1990s, with the exception of individual airports, ports and rail border crossings, however, identity checks were transferred to the customs guard by ordinance, control by the gendarmerie or Police were therefore more the exception than the rule. Thereafter, this transfer was continuously withdrawn, so that the passports were only checked by customs at the border with Switzerland and Liechtenstein, at Innsbruck Airport, partly in general aviation and at smaller road border crossings. At a few small road border crossings, the customs control was transferred to the gendarmerie, then there were border crossings at which the gendarmerie took over customs controls in non-commercial traffic, while commercial traffic was controlled by both guards.

Goods control has been carried out since May 1, 2004 by the gendarmerie (EU external border with Vorarlberg in non-commercial traffic) or by customs officers (EU external border with Tyrol , airports and commercial traffic). A person check by customs officials has not been carried out since then, only the police or gendarmerie were responsible for this. When the Federal Gendarmerie was closed, the function of the gendarmerie at the borders was generally taken over by the police.

Since all neighboring countries also belong to the Schengen area, regular passport controls are only carried out at airports or airfields for flights from non-Schengen countries. At the borders with Switzerland and Liechtenstein there are still customs controls - albeit not at every border crossing at any time of the day or night - because the two countries are Schengen states but not EU members. Customs controls also take place at airports. Due to the fact that the checked baggage is checked through and the transfer passengers who have checked in baggage outside the EU on EU internal flights cannot be separated from others, in principle all travelers have to pass through customs control.

Since a police presence is no longer required at the border crossings to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, customs inspections of goods are continuously taken back by customs. Since 2014, goods controls have been carried out exclusively by customs officers at all EU external border crossings.

Due to the refugee crisis in Europe from 2015 , border controls were partially reintroduced from September 2015 in accordance with Article 23 of the Schengen Borders Code. Certain border sections between Austria and the neighboring countries of Germany, Hungary and Slovenia are affected. In addition to the police, units of the Austrian Armed Forces are also present at the border.

United States

To enter the USA at the border crossing, see: Visa # USA , Section Visa Waiver Program

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Denmark decides on "permanent border controls" in the press of May 11, 2011, accessed on May 11, 2011
  2. New Danish government rolls back border controls, October 4, 2011. Retrieved July 30, 2012
  3. Current ordinance of June 24, 2005, Federal Law Gazette I p. 1867
  4. EU Commission apparently for the extension of border controls. ORF Österreichischer Rundfunk, May 1, 2016, accessed on May 1, 2016 .
  5. Marcel Leubecher: "This comparison shows the dimension of asylum immigration". ( Memento from March 19, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) In: / N24 , Original: [1] May 4, 2017
  6. ^ Fusillades à Paris: au moins 60 morts . In: Le Point. Retrieved November 13, 2015 (French).
  7. Federal Law Gazette No. 447/1981 on p. 2
  8. Federal Law Gazette II No. 297/1998
  9. Federal Law Gazette No. 464/1996 on p. 4
  10. Border controls between Germany and Austria. Salzburg24, September 14, 2015, accessed on January 23, 2016 .
  11. New border controls in the playing field. Courier , January 22, 2016, accessed January 23, 2016 .

Web links

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Wiktionary: border control  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations