IDEMIA and Sopra Steria Chosen by eu-LISA to Build the New Shared Biometric Matching System (sBMS) for Border Protection of the Schengen Area

The European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA) has awarded a consortium of IDEMIA and Sopra Steria a framework contract for the delivery of a new shared biometric matching system (sBMS). By 2022, the sBMS will be one of the largest biometric systems in the world, integrating a database of over 400 million third-country nationals with their fingerprints and facial images. Based on European biometrics technology, this new system will first serve the identification needs of the new European Entry/Exit System, thus being the cornerstone of the protection of European borders.

The contract was awarded following a competitive call for tender (LISA/2019/RP/05 EES BMS and sBMS) by eu-LISA. Its duration is four years, with an option for an extension of up to six years.

The Schengen area, a travel zone where 26 European countries have abolished their internal borders, is key to facilitate the free and unrestricted movement of people. The use of the latest biometric technologies makes it possible to ensure the protection of the external borders in the long term. This shared Biometric Matching System, aiming at fighting against irregular immigration and trans-border crime, will become one of the world’s largest biometric systems when it integrates all the existing and upcoming biometric databases of the European Union.

As a contribution to the Smart Borders initiative and the interoperability framework, the sBMS will not only serve the future Entry/Exit System (EES), but also multiple other systems already in use in the EU, including the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS), Eurodac (European Asylum Dactyloscopy Database) and the future ECRIS-TCN (European Criminal Records Information System for Third Country Nationals).

The companies forming the consortium already support the European Union in the management of other mission-critical large-scale IT systems including VIS, SIS and Eurodac for more than fifteen years. They have experience of working with the national and local administrations of EU Member States and private sector partners to manage the movement of people across air, land and sea borders.