Travelers arriving at the European Union’s borders in the next year will be greeted with a sleek new system.
Electronic passport scanners are being implemented throughout Europe in an effort to increase security by checking the status of non-EU people, such as British, American, and Australian citizens, before they are allowed to enter the country.
From 2016 onwards, the new Entry-Exit System (EES), which has been under development since 2016, will take over from the present system in which border guards stamp passports.
Travelers who are used to utilizing biometric scanners at airports will find the technology to be quite familiar. However, unlike the existing systems, which just verify that the picture matches your face, the EES technology will also compute how long you are permitted to remain in the EU – among other things.
There has been no change to the visa requirements for visitors, thus the length of your stay will be recorded as either 90 days maximum (under short stay restrictions) or for as long as the visa attached to your passport allows.
Non-EU nationals who live in the Schengen Zone, on the other hand, are not required to utilize the new system. It was confirmed by the European Commission to The Local that “their personal data would not be logged in the Entry/Exit System.” “It is sufficient for holders of such papers to submit them to border guards in order to demonstrate their legal status.”
However, the EES will only work on the EU’s exterior borders – meaning it will not be able to assist Americans flying into Italy or British citizens crossing into France – rather than between nations inside the EU such as Italy and France.
What is the purpose of implementing a new Entry-Exit System?
However, there is little question that the new system is meant to toughen Europe’s borders, as it has been defined as “basically a security upgrade” that would speed up traveler access into the country.
Additionally, the scanners will check to see whether your passport has ever been reported for immigration offenses such as overstaying a visa, in addition to keeping track of how long visitors have been on the premises.
According to the European Commission, the EES will “enable a more effective identification of stolen identities as well as any nationals who overstay their visa authorization.”
A pooling of information across all EU member states will result, with criminal names and intelligence being shared with law enforcement agencies, consular offices for visa services, and Europol, among other organizations.
On a more lighthearted note, it is anticipated that the scanners would put an end to the inconsistent passport stamping that non-EU people residing in EU nations have been subjected to in the recent past. As noted by The Local, this has been a particular issue for British citizens since Brexit, who have been left “frustrated” by inaccurate stamps.
Despite a delayed start owing to the pandemic, the EES is projected to become operational in the first six months of 2022.
Along with the ‘European Travel Information and Authorisation System’ (ETIAS), which would see non-EU people taxed €7 to enter the EU, it is one of a series of new measures that will see non-EU citizens paid to enter the EU.
According to Travel, the European Commission has said that passports would not be the sole point of reference for persons who do not have biometric passports. Non-EU nationals will be able to pass through because the identifiers “read on the spot” will be matched to those already stored in the EES.