Entry and exit into Schengen Area: New start date Entry/Exit system remains unclear
There is no clear timeline yet for the start of the new Entry/Exit System (EES), that was supposed to kick off in May 2023. This means that the estimation remains ‘summer 2024’. The EES is an automated system for registering non-EU nationals traveling for a short stay, up to 90 days in a 180-day period, that will record each time they cross external Schengen area borders.
It will replace passport stamping and requires travellers to have biometric data (facial images and fingerprints) recorded upon entry. It will operate in conjunction with the new European Traval Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which is the EU version of the United States ESTA system.
The EU has been working for years on improving the registration of entry’s and exits to and from the Schengen Area, both for visa free travellers as well as Schengen visa holders. This will ultimately lead to a much stricter enforcement of overstay, as manually counting visa stamps at the border crossing will become something of the past. It also means that visitors should keep an even better track of their 90 days.
Under the ETIAS visitors that are currently visa free, must obtain a visa waiver before they enter the Schengen area. Both changes are expected in the summer of 2024, and will introduce drastic changes for visitors to the Schengen area.