Entering the EU is about to become more complicated for non-EU nationals as the new Entry Exit System (EES) is set to come into effect from MAY 2023, say new reports.
The EES is part of the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) that will also be implemented later in 2023, which will require visitors from outside the EU to apply and pay for a visa waiver before entering a country in the Schengen zone, which includes France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain, among others.
According to reports, the new EES will register additional information beyond passport details about non-EU travellers. Automated barriers at borders will take and store biometric data including, fingerprints and facial images. Instead of using passport stamps, the system will automatically register when someone enters or leaves an EU country.
France will install self-service kiosks at airports where travellers can pre-register their biometric data and personal details, reports EuroNews Travel. They will then present themselves to a border guard for verification. Germany and Austria have confirmed a similar system will be installed at their respective airports.
Italy says it will increase the number of automated gates in all its main airports as well as adding around 600 self-service kiosks to implement the new EES. Norway will trial “automated camera solutions” operated by the border guards.
Non-EU citizens can only stay 90 days in the EU before requiring a visa. The EES also does not apply to EU citizens or to people travelling between Schengen zone countries.
Concerns Over Potential Border Delays
As the EU prepares to introduce the EES, there are fears of the new system causing disruptions and delays at borders.
“The additional tasks resulting from the EES regulation will lead to a sharp increase in process times,” Austrian authorities said. “Currently, we expect process times to double compared to the current situation.”
Other concerns have been raised about whether the infrastructure will be installed in time.
German authorities have admitted that “a stable working EES system seems to be unlikely in May 2023.”
Austrian authorities added they are working to create more space for automated kiosks but will not be finished before the system is operational, reports EuroNews Travel.
The New ETIAS System
The EES is part of the wider ETIAS will come into effect in NOV2023, which will require non-EU nationals to pay €7 (CAD $9.84) per person to visit most European countries. The visa permits non-EU citizens to stay in the EU and Schengen zone for 90 days. Once a traveller has had their visa approved, they do not need to apply again for three years.
To apply, travellers will have to complete an online application before they go and pay the fee if they are between 18 and 70 years old.
Non-EU nationals who have official residency in an EU country may be exempt from the EES and ETIAS.
European Union authorities have already issued a warning to non-EU nationals to be aware of fraudulent websites offering ETIAS visas. Travellers are being told to only use the official ETIAS site, which has yet to be set up but will use the “europa.eu” domain once it comes online.