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Introduction of Entry-Exit System (EES)

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The EES includes biometric facial images
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Manual passport stamping could be replaced with an Entry-Exit System (EES) as early as October 6 2024.


The implementation of the entry-exit system (EES) has seen several delays as EU countries diligently work to align their border controls with the central EES database. The most recent delay, requested by France, was to avoid travel delays during the Summer Olympics.


The goal was to introduce both the EES and a new form of visa under the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) by mid-2025.


However, according to the latest European Union Travel Website update, the EES could be operational from October 6 2024, with ETIAS planned for six months later.


EES migration and border control

The introduction of both systems aims to enhance the security of EU members within the Schengen region by capturing data on visitors currently permitted to enter the area without a visa. This will impact travel to thirty countries, including Spain.


The primary goal of the EES is to significantly ease the identification process for authorities, particularly in identifying individuals who have overstayed the agreed 90-day period.


EES fingerprints

Therefore, new automated barriers will be introduced to record and file biometric data such as facial images and fingerprints. The information will be stored in a secure database for a three-year period, enabling efficient cross-border monitoring and movement.


Unlike manual passport stamping, the EES will allow rapid identification of individuals who have overstayed the 90-day limit. This is a crucial development in the EU s efforts to prevent illegal migration across Europe. The system is viewed as a significant tool in enhancing EU security.


EES may deter UK travel

In the travel industry, concerns are already being raised about the potential impact this could have on tourism, particularly how it will deter UK travel.


In fact, a recent survey carried out by the UK’s Department for Transport found that 15 per cent of British adults are less likely to travel to the EU once the EES launches.  Likewise, 20 per cent said they would delay their ferry trip to the EU if the system caused delays of more than an hour.


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also expressed concerns. Rafael Schvartzman, Regional Head of Europe, said, “The industry is concerned there are critical unresolved items that will require urgent and coordinated action from both the EU and member states prior to its implementation.”


Conversely, Julia Lo Bue-Said, Chief Executive of Advantage Travel Partnership believes that Brits should not hesitate to travel to the EU from October.  Her view is that although travellers may face delays when registering initially, the automated border controls will eventually speed up processing and the overall experience.


It remains to be seen if the level of concern being expressed will lead to the introduction of the EES being further delayed. In the meantime, British travellers should continue to follow the current guidelines, including getting their passports stamped at entry and exit points.


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