New EU travel requirements for British holidaymakers – The EU travel regulations for British citizens will involve collecting essential information from travelers, including their fingerprints and facial images.
The rollout of the Entry/Exit System (EES) has encountered significant delays, with its implementation date having been pushed back multiple times. Initially planned for deployment in 2022, followed by a revised target of May 2023, the introduction of EES has now been postponed once more and is projected to be operational by 2024, possibly after the conclusion of the Summer Paris Olympics. The European Union is set to unveil an updated timetable for EES and its related systems, including the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), in October 2023.
Once in place, the EES will serve as an automated IT system designed to register travelers from non-EU countries, including the UK, each time they cross EU borders. Travelers will be required to utilize automated self-service kiosks to scan their passports or travel documents prior to their border crossings. This technology will replace the current practice of manual passport stamping for non-EU and non-Schengen visitors to the Schengen area.
The EES will gather critical information from travelers, including their name, type of travel document, biometric data such as fingerprints and facial images, as well as the date and location of entry and exit.
Non-EU/Schengen citizens who do not necessitate a visa for EU entry will likely undergo fingerprinting and facial image capturing during their initial border crossing after the system’s launch. For data protection reasons, this information will typically be erased from the EES database three years after their last trip to an EES-participating country. Conversely, nationals from countries requiring a visa to enter the EU will not undergo fingerprinting via the EES system, as they would have already provided their fingerprints as part of the visa application process.
The European Commission has outlined that the EES will apply to 25 EU countries, encompassing all Member States except for Cyprus and Ireland, along with four non-EU countries—Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein—which are part of the border-free Schengen area, alongside most EU Member States.
The system’s scope extends to all nationals of non-EU and non-Schengen countries when traveling for short stays to the 29 countries utilizing the EES. However, non-EU citizens legally residing or holding long-stay visas in an EU Member State will be exempt from the EES requirements (EU travel requirements for British).
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