Entry-Exit System (EES) Pushed Back To End of 2023

Entry-Exit System (EES) Pushed Back To End of 2023

Plans by the European Union to introduce the new Entry-Exit System (EES) have been delayed once again.

The Entry/Exit System (EES) will not be rolled out in May 2023 as it has been planned by the European Union authorities and has been pushed to late 2023.

This means that holidaymakers heading to Europe this summer will be spared a little longer of having their fingerprints registered and picture taken.

Officials in Brussels were told that the implementation is “no longer achievable” because of delays caused by the contractors responsible for the new system.

Automated EES barriers need to be installed at all international land, maritime, and air borders in the Schengen Area. Travellers will be able to register their details at self-service kiosks and on mobile apps in some countries, after which border guards or e-gates will complete the checks.

EES is set to replace the stamping of passports and is touted as a more efficient system capable of compiling accurate border data and preventing travellers from surpassing the permitted 90 days they can stay in the Schengen Area within a 180-day period. Travellers will scan their passports at a self-service kiosk, which will also register biometric data to be retained for three years.

It will not apply to legal residents or those with long-stay visas.

It is unclear when the system is now set to be introduced. This should become clear in March 2023 when a new timeline is presented for approval.

How About ETIAS Launch Date

The EES is connected to the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). This new scheme obligates non-EU citizens who do not require an EU visa to gain travel authorisation to enter the bloc. The visa waiver will be mandatory for anyone wishing to visit the Schengen Area short term.

ETIAS is still set to be operational from November 2023 as planned. An implementation period of six months is expected, meaning it may not be mandatory immediately. A second grace period of six months may also be considered after that.

The electronic travel authorisation will be electronically linked to passports and other travel documents and will last for three years.

A Welcome Delay

While Airline and airport organisations including Airports Council International (ACI) Europe underlined the EES will be a game changer in how the EU’s borders are managed, it also pointed out there remain several issues that need to be resolved to ensure a smooth rollout and to avoid disruptions to passenger travel.

The airport trade body explained these issues include: 

  • Wider adoption and effective implementation of automation at national border crossing points by national authorities.
  • Funding by Member States to ensure a sufficient number of trained staff and resources are deployed to manage the EU’s external border, particularly at airports.
  • Deployment of sufficient resources to support the implementation of new procedures by airports and airlines.
  • The need for a public communications campaign to alert third-country nationals to the new requirements.

The organisations also advised that EU-LISA, the agency responsible for managing the EES system, strengthen its communications with the industry, including international partners such as the US, to ensure IT systems are “connected and compatible”.

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