The European Union (EU) has announced plans to have all information on the entry and exit to the bloc for non-Schengen nationals automatically recorded through an automated system by the end of this year.
This means that Nationals of third countries who are permitted to enter the Schengen Area visa-free or with a short-term visa will no longer have to bother having their passports stamped on entry and exit as it has been before.
The new system dubbed Entry/Exit System (EES) will benefit many by reducing time spent at immigration offices but also comes with some disadvantages for those who stay longer than their permitted visa stay.
“EES will replace the current system of manual stamping of passports, which is time-consuming, does not provide reliable data on border crossing and does not allow a systematic detection of over-stayers,” reads a statement of the Migration and Home Affairs of the EU Commission regarding the system.
The system will be used to keep track of third-country travellers who enter the EU and detect over-stayers, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported this week.
The system will record specific data on travellers, including their name, fingerprints, facial image, travel document type, date and place of entry, date and place of exit, as well as their stay period in the Schengen Area.
As soon as the Entry/Exit System becomes fully operational, travellers who can enter the Schengen Area visa-free will be required to obtain travel authorization online.
ETIAS is a completely electronic system that will be used to keep track of visitors who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Area. The ETIAS will cost €7 per person and will remain valid for three years at first.
The EU Parliament recently approved a report to make the Schengen visa application procedures completely online.
The EU Parliament stressed that as soon as such a plan is approved, visa applications will be processed in a single platform. This will allow applicants to know which country will receive their application.
A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any member of the Schengen Area, per stay up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.
This visa is the most common entry document for Europe. It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.
However, if you are planning to study, work, or live in one of the Schengen countries for more than 90 days, then you must apply for a national visa of that European country and not a Schengen travel permit.
Quick fact: Over 15 million people used their Schengen visas in 2019 to travel around Europe.
Who Needs a Visa to Enter Europe?
All nationals of third countries, which have not yet reached a visa-liberalization agreement with the Schengen member states, need to obtain a visa before arriving in Europe.
To check whether you need a Schengen Visa to travel to one of the Schengen member countries, here is the list of countries, citizens of which must apply for this Visa prior to their travel to the EU.