Summary: In recent years, U.S. and EU have both set up border-related database systems with striking similarities as regards names and major development phases occurring in the historical context of post-9/11. Nevertheless doubts are appropriate as to how far the parallels go between the European VIS finally adopted as an instrument of the common visa policy and US-VISIT known for its dedicated role in the war against terrorism. On the basis of a detailed examination of systems and contextual features, the present briefing undertakes to illustrate major divergences in terms of underlying purposes and means employed which once again confirm well-known transatlantic divides as to the significance of data protection, availability of data to a wide range of security authorities, perfectionist use of biometric control processes etc. The transatlantic comparison also takes note of rather disillusioning experiences made by US-VISIT: despite deployment of enormous financial resources, newest technology and the envisaged use of accompanying measures such as ETA, the modernisation of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), the seamless protection of US borders appears still not in sight. Certainly a lesson to be retained in view of possible European ambitions to follow the U.S. on the same path!
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