EU’s New Entry/Exit Scheme Finally Gets 2024 Launch Date

EU’s New Entry/Exit Scheme Finally Gets 2024 Launch Date

The European Union’s much-delayed Entry/Exit Scheme (EES) is due to start on 6 October 2024.

The launch has been postponed multiple times as EU countries struggled to integrate their border systems with the central EES database.

The new border system is an automated IT system for registering non-EU nationals travelling for a short stay, each time they cross the external borders of European countries.

This means that British travellers to the European Union (EU) will need to submit fingerprints and facial biometrics, sharply increasing the processing time at ports, rail terminals, and airports.

According to Eurotunnel, which runs the car-carrying LeShuttle operation between Folkestone and Calais, an introduction date of 6 October 2024 has now been set.

Member states will need to verify readiness in August 2024. 

Pressure to introduce the system without further delay is mounting because of concerns about an upsurge in terrorism.

Biometrics Requirements to Slow Travel

Before the Brexit vote, the United Kingdom was involved in the development of the new system. However, the new system will now make it difficult for operators to find more processing space at borders, particularly room for scanning fingerprints and facial biometrics amid busy passenger flows.

The task is challenging at two UK-EU borders:

  • the Port of Dover and
  • the Eurotunnel station at Folkestone

Both locations, especially the port, have limited space for additional processing.

Eurotunnel expects the new requirements to increase car processing time at the France-UK border from under 60 seconds to five to seven minutes per vehicle.

The Entry/Exit Scheme will apply for arrivals to all European Union countries except Cyprus and Ireland. It is also being adopted by Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Only regular EU passport holders will continue crossing borders freely after the system takes effect.

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) is a system that works hand in hand with the European Entry/Exit System (EES).

The Schengen Area comprises 27 European countries that have eliminated passport and other border control formalities among themselves.

While citizens from the UK and certain other countries on the EU's list don't require a visa for EU or Schengen area travel, they do need to obtain ETIAS travel authorisation once EES is on track. However, this requirement doesn't apply to travel between the UK and Ireland due to their shared travel arrangements.

To get ETIAS authorisation, travellers must apply online or through a mobile app. This authorisation, usually granted within minutes, involves checks on EU borders and security systems. 

Although most authorisations are swift, some applicants might undergo additional checks lasting up to 30 days. Once granted, the authorisation remains valid for three years at a cost of approximately £6 or €7.

What are your thoughts on the new border system to cross the EU? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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