EES will become operational in October 2024: should we expect queues at EU borders?
After numerous attempts, the new EU entry and exit control system, EES, is finally set to go live. It is predicted that starting this fall, it will become more difficult for non-EU citizens to enter the EU. Find out when the EES will be introduced, whether foreigners with a valid EU residence permit need to register in the EES and ETIAS system, and other important details
After repeated postponements, it is predicted that the new EES entry and exit control system for the European Union will be operational as early as October 2024. It is part of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), which, according to experts, will be implemented next year. As part of the innovation, foreigners who will arrive in the EU on the basis of a visa-free regime will have to submit an application for entry and pay a fee before traveling.
What changes are expected in the system of entry and exit to European countries in 2024-2025? Let's talk further.
What are EES systems?
With the help of the EES system, certain information about foreigners entering the EU will be registered:
- passport data;
- biometric information (fingerprints and photo of the face).
Due to the introduction of EES, stamps in passports will be abolished. Instead, the system will automatically register when someone enters or leaves an EU country. That is why it will be much easier to identify persons who have violated the period of stay in the Schengen zone.
Importantly! According to EU law, citizens of non-EU countries who are entitled to visa-free travel can stay in the EU for only 90 days. For a longer stay, it is necessary to issue a visa.
The requirements of the EES system do not apply to foreigners traveling between Schengen countries.
What are ETIAS systems?
The ETIAS system will require foreigners who are citizens of non-EU countries to go through the registration process before traveling to the region, pay a visa fee of €7 and obtain the appropriate permit. This requirement applies to persons aged 18 to 70 years.
On the basis of the document, it is allowed to stay in the territory of the EU and the Schengen zone for 90 days. Once the visa is approved, the traveler does not need to reapply for three years.
Although the exact launch date is unknown, the EU has previously stressed that ETIAS will be implemented five to six months after the EES.
Do foreigners who have a residence permit in the EU need to register in the EES and ETIAS system?
Foreign nationals who are citizens of non-EU countries, but have a residence permit in one of the countries of the region, are exempt from registration in the EES and ETIAS systems, as well as from the 90-day limit on staying in the region.
Control of this category of citizens will take place on the basis of a biometric identity card, for example carte de séjour in France or carta di soggiorno in Italy. However, the bloc's leadership has not released any information on how automatic border barriers will identify a traveler as an EU resident if they are using a non-EU passport.
Where will the EES check be conducted?
EU countries are preparing to install automatic barriers to check EES:
- France plans to install self-service kiosks at airports where travelers can register their biometric and personal data before going to a border guard for inspection. Tablet data entry devices will be available for visitors arriving by car at France's land and sea borders.
- Italy has said it will increase the number of automatic gates at all its major airports, as well as add around 600 self-service kiosks.
- Norway plans to test "automated cameras", which will be managed by the border service.
Are there possible delays in passing controls in European countries in connection with the introduction of EES?
Representatives of tourism associations are already expressing their concerns about the introduction of the EES system, because citizens will have to spend much more time when they first arrive in the EU to provide biometric data compared to the current passport check. Some experts say travelers can wait up to 14 hours at border crossings.
The governments of European countries are also talking about possible delays. In particular, Austria and Germany were particularly concerned that waiting times at the border could increase. Even travelers residing in the EU can experience delays.
Obviously, this policy can have very serious consequences not only for tourists and tour operators, but also for local businesses.
How to avoid fraud when registering in the ETIAS system?
The European Union authorities have already issued a warning to citizens of non-EU countries about possible fraudulent websites offering ETIAS visas. As of now, 60 unofficial sites have been found in the network. According to the EU border control agency, fraudsters create copies of websites or offer intermediary services. In general, users are illegally charged additional commissions on their resources.
Importantly! There is only one official site, the ETIAS official site, which will be operational in mid-2025 when the system comes into force.
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