If you’re heading to the EU soon, listen up!
From May 2023, a new Entry Exit Scheme (EES) will be rolled out across Europe, which will change how non-EU nationals visit the Schengen zone.
The EES is part of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) which will be enforced later in the year, in November 2023.
Once implemented, these systems will require visitors to the Schengen zone to apply and pay for a visa waiver before entering any of the 26 European nations under its umbrella.
The EES will require further data from travelers, beyond basic passport information, before allowing them to visit the countries included in the program. Biometric data will be taken from each applicant, which includes facial recognition and fingerprints.
This program only applies to external visitors to the Schengen Area. Those who reside within the EU will still be able to travel freely between all 26 nations, and movement between countries in the Schengen zone will also be unaffected.
The purpose of these schemes is to make it easier for authorities to identify tourists staying beyond their visa limit.
Once the ETIAS has been rolled out, each non-EU visitor will be required to pay approximately €7 to visit countries included in the scheme. Austria, Norway, Italy, and France are just some of the countries involved in the program.
Visas will enable applicants to stay in the EU and Schengen zone for 90 days. While the visa process may seem a hassle, once completed, visitors do not need to apply again for 3 years.
Since Brexit separated the United Kingdom from the EU, this new system does not affect tourists heading to any of the four British Isles.
There is some concern over delays in European passports once the EES and ETIAS schemes have taken effect.
However, airport and land border crossing staff are putting measures into place in advance to reduce some of the impacts and reduce queues at security.