April 23, 2021

European Union to Launch Entry-Exit System (EES)

The European Union is creating a new, large-scale automated IT database called the Entry-Exit System (EES) for the registration of travelers from non-EU countries, to be implemented as part of the Smart Borders Package introduced in 2016. The new system will apply to both visa nationals and those third country nationals who are also visa exempt staying in the Schengen area for less than 90 days. The new system will help the European Union to protect the security of European citizens while at the same time enable legitimate third-country nationals to travel more easily within the Schengen zone.

What are the details?

The European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) are developing the system with the aim to release it for operational use in the first half of 2022. It forms part of the European Agenda on Security and the European Agenda on Migration’s objectives on border management and cross-border crime and terrorism control and will modernize the management of the EU external borders.

Short-stay visa holders and visa-exempt travelers will be registered by the EES each time they cross an EU external border. The individual’s name, type of the travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and captured facial images) and the date and place of entry and exit will be recorded. The EES will also record any entry refusals.

The new automated IT system will replace the current system which involves the manual stamping of passports and does not track data on border crossings or detect those who overstay beyond the maximum allowance of their authorized stay. As well as identifying over-stayers, and protecting the security of EU nationals, the new EES will make it easier to detect document and identity fraud. The new system will also facilitate automated border control checks and self-service systems, creating a more streamlined process for travelers.

From 2022, non-EU nationals who are also considered to be visa exempt will be required to obtain an electronic visa waiver through the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) prior to entering the Schengen area. Those third-country nationals from non- ETIAS- eligible countries will still be required to obtain a Schengen visa. ETIAS is designed for short stays and will permit individuals to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. They will be valid for up to three years, or until the holder’s passport expires.

For further information on the new Entry-Exit System for non-EU nationals, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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