What’s next for the Schengen Area?

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Marco Mazzeschi
Mazzeschi, Milan

The new automated Entry/Exit System (EES)

The Entry/Exit System (EES) is an automated IT system for registering travellers from third countries, both short-stay visa holders and visa-exempt travellers, each time they cross a Schengen Area external border.

EES will replace the current system of the manual stamping of passports, which does not allow a systematic detection of ‘over-stayers’, that is, travellers who have exceeded the maximum duration of authorised stay.

The EES is expected to come into operation by the end of May 2023. The system will register the person’s name, type of the travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and captured facial images) and the date and place of entry and exit. EES will contribute to preventing irregular migration also identifying more efficiently (and automatically) those who over-stay, as well as cases of document and identity fraud.

​​​​​​​The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)

ETIAS is expected to be operational in November 2023. Non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen Area will have to apply for a travel authorisation through ETIAS before their trip. The system aims to carry out pre-travel screening for security and migration risks of visa-exempt visitors and it will be a mandatory pre-condition for entry to states in the Schengen Area.

An applicant will file an online application form and the system will: issue travel authorisation within minutes or, in limited cases, where further checks on the traveller are required, the issuing of the travel authorisation could take up to 30 days. Applicants will be required to submit information about: Member State of first-intended stay, purpose of their trip, background questions relating to previous criminal records, presence in conflict zones, orders to leave the territory of a Member State or third countries. The applicant shall report any ‘serious’ criminal offence listed over the last ten years and in the case of terrorist offences, over the previous 20 years, and if so, when and in which country.