The EU’s Entry-Exit System: Essential Information for Travellers


The EU’s Entry-Exit System: Essential Information for Travellers

In this article, you'll find:

Introduction to the EU Entry-Exit System (EES)

Traveling from the UK to Europe is changing. The introduction of the EU’s Entry/Exit System (EES) will alter the travel landscape for British holidaymakers. Initially slated for a 2022 launch, the EES has faced multiple delays and is now scheduled to be implemented this Autumn.

Key Changes for British Travellers

The EES will impact most British travellers heading to Europe and the four Schengen countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. Notably, Cyprus and Ireland will not adopt the new system, continuing with manual passport checks and stamps.

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EES Implementation and Requirements

Upon arrival in Europe, travellers will need to provide personal details, undergo facial photography, and fingerprint scanning. This protocol applies to air travel, cruises, and train or boat journeys from London St Pancras, Dover, or Folkestone.

The EES will track entries and exits for visits up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Exemptions include EU or Schengen citizens and British residents in the EU. There’s still uncertainty regarding British citizens with an in-date EU passport and their exemption status.

Expected Travel Delays and Technological Solutions

Eurotunnel Chief Executive Yann Leriche has stated that travel time might increase by five-to-seven minutes per journey, though additional lanes and technology are expected to mitigate delays. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) warns of potential longer delays during the initial implementation phase.

To streamline the process, a mobile app is expected to launch next summer, allowing travellers to pre-input some required information.

Extended Stays and Visa Requirements

For stays exceeding 90 days in the EU or Schengen area, travellers will need to apply for a visa. Detailed information about these requirements can be found on the UK Government’s website.

Introduction of the European Travel Authorisation System (ETIAS)

Starting mid-2025, the European Travel Authorisation System (ETIAS) will come into effect, similar to the USA’s ESTA. Travellers to Europe, excluding Ireland, must apply for an ETIAS before their journey.

ETIAS Application Process and Fees

The ETIAS application fee is €7, free for individuals under 18 and over 70. The authorization will be valid for three years or until the passport expires, covering multiple trips. Processing times range from 30 minutes to 96 hours, so apply well in advance of your travel dates. Be cautious of fraudulent websites claiming to offer ETIAS services.

Travel Insurance Considerations

Travel insurance will not cover costs associated with denied entry due to missing documentation or a refused ETIAS. Additionally, delays caused by the EES will not be covered, so travellers should plan to arrive at departure points early to navigate the new security measures.

Travellers must stay informed about these significant changes and prepare accordingly to ensure smooth travel experiences in Europe post-Brexit. For the latest updates and detailed requirements, consult official government resources regularly.

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