Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Karolina Grabowska
Expect To Be Fingerprinted Upon Entering Europe In 2023
For years, Europe has been adamant about implementing new systems to keep better track of immigration to the countries within the union. There are already plans in place for the European Union to begin its Entry-Exit System also known as EES. The EES is an automated ‘IT system’ designated for the registration of tourists arriving from countries outside the EU. For example, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Digital Passport Into The EU
Eventually, Europe hopes this will develop a fully-digital border. Which would replace passport stamps as well as the need for interviews at the border. Once the EES has proven to be fully functional, travelers will have their entry and exit dates logged into a shared database. Considering most travelers are only supposed to spend 90 days at a time and the only way to confirm their length of stay is to manually check stamps, a digital alternative will discourage travelers from staying longer under the radar.
To Fingerprint Or Not To Fingerprint
Now what could be a deal breaker for many, is the handling of their privacy and biometric data. As the new system would require travelers to give their fingerprints and be photographed on their first trip to any of the EU countries. Not only will they digitally log fingerprints and facial recognition scans but also ask travelers for their full names along with the type of document they used to travel. The system will also log refusals of entry, Americans who breach their 90/180-day visas could risk multiple-year bans from that country if caught or can not give a valid reason for the long stay.
The Launch Of EES
The European Commission expects the EES to replace the current passport stamping process. Which has been considered time-consuming and not reliable when it comes to identifying over-stays. However, officials are hopeful that this will speed up the process for travelers coming into Europe.
Expect the launch of the EES system to happen in May of 2023. Trials of the system have already started in Europe’s Schengen Area. Prague has already started registering passengers into ‘easykiosks’. These kiosks require tourists to answer a short questionnaire, give their fingerprints, and have their pictures taken and logged into the system.