Say hello to EES, the EU Entry/Exit system
At the same time as ETIAS rolls out, the EU will also introduce EES, the EU Entry/Exit system, a security measure designed to monitor the movement of third country nationals into and out of the Schengen area. The primary aim of EES is to prevent cross-border criminal and terrorist activity, but the system will also be used to track migration, monitor health situations and provide Schengen countries with detailed, evidence-based data on the movement of non-EU citizens through the zone.
No more stamping of passports
By electronically “tagging” passports as they enter and/or leave the Schengen area, EES will monitor the movement of third country nationals (yes, that includes Brits), replacing the outdated process of wet-stamping passports.
What sort of information will EES check?
Primarily, EES will note biometric information from the chips in e-passports, plus facial recognition data, fingerprints, names, dates of entry and exit, as well as keeping a record of refusal of entry and automatically calculating duration of stay.
EES also works in conjunction with ETIAS, Frontex and Europol, sharing information to help make the Schengen area a safer place.
What will the EES information be used for?
The information collected will allow the EU to quickly identify and locate visitors who have overstayed their 90 days, as well as anyone subject to a security alert or illegal migrants with fake or illegal documentation. Information sharing with ETIAS will also show whether or not the traveller has the proper authorisation to enter (or exit) the country.
The tie-in with the ETIAS Watchlist is key here – when a traveller makes an ETIAS application, sophisticated risk factor algorithms will decide whether or not to authorise the request, or pass through for a more detailed manual evaluation. Exactly what these algorithms will identify as “risk” could range from terrorism, criminal activity, public health issues, previous overstay or visa violations all the way through to screening for illegally working or becoming a public charge.
So, we finally have an answer to the question of “How will they know if I’ve overstayed ….” or “how will they know I’m working on my non-lucrative visa?”
Who will have access to the data, and how long will the data be stored?
The data collected will be stored for three years for travellers who respect the rules on short-stays and for five years for those who overstay.
EES data can be accessed by border control, visa-issuing authorities and law enforcement amongst others, all under strict conditions and oversight.
Good to Know
EES will only operate at external Schengen borders and apply to non-EU citizens travelling to the EU. Non-EU citizens who already legally reside in the Schengen area do not need to use the new system, but just like with ETIAS, will need to be able to show proof of residency in the EU country.
The information in this article was current on the date published.
Article last reviewed/updated 05.08.2022