According to a report from Greek City Times, a recent development in travel regulations will require holidaymakers visiting EU countries, including popular destinations like France, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Italy, to provide their fingerprints. The EU Entry/Exit System (EES), an automated IT system designed to register non-EU travelers, had been initially scheduled for implementation in 2022 but faced delays until May 2023. Unfortunately, it has now been further postponed until the end of 2023.
Under the new system, individuals crossing EU borders will be required to scan their passports and other travel documents at self-service kiosks. This process aims to record crucial information such as their name, travel document type, fingerprints, facial images, and the date and place of entry and exit.
As mentioned in the report, non-EE or Schengen citizens who do not require a visa will have their fingerprints and pictures collected during their first border crossing. These personal details will be stored for three years after their last visit to the EES area to comply with data protection regulations.
These personal details will be stored for three years after their last visit to the EES area to comply with data protection regulations.
Visa holders, on the other hand, will not need to provide their fingerprints as they would have already done so during the visa application process. This exemption applies to all EU countries except Cyprus and Ireland, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
The implementation of the EES system primarily targets nationals of non-EU or Schengen countries who plan to visit the designated destinations for short stays. However, individuals legally residing in or possessing long-stay visas for EU countries will be exempted from this requirement.
In addition to EU countries, the EES system will also be implemented at the Port of Dover, Eurostar, and Eurotunnel terminals in the UK. An agreement has been made allowing French authorities to conduct necessary border checks at these departure points within the UK.
As highlighted in the report, the operational details of the EES system and its potential impact on travel are still uncertain, leaving room for further delays, as acknowledged by the government. Authorities are actively collaborating with operators to minimize any disruptions to border control and traffic flows.
The data collected through the EES system will play a crucial role in ensuring compliance with entry requirements and authorized lengths of stay. Furthermore, it will assist in monitoring cases of overstays and refusals of entry. It's important to note that the UK and Ireland, which maintain a common travel area, will not be subject to the EES system for travel between the two countries.