Upcoming EU Entry-Exit System May Delay British Travelers

Upcoming EU Entry-Exit System May Delay British Travelers

The European Union’s new Entry/Exit System (EES) is set to launch on October 6th, 2024, replacing manual passport stamping for non-EU citizens entering the Schengen Area. 

The automated system aims to make border crossings faster, but travel agents and industry experts worry it could cause delays and affect tourism.

British, third-country holidaymakers registration

With the new EES, British and other non-EU travelers will need to register their arrival and departure from EU and Schengen Area countries.

At passport control, they will provide their photo, fingerprints, and passport details

This information will be stored in a database for three years to monitor people’s movements across borders.

EES, ETIAS launch dates unconfirmed

Although reports mention the October 6th launch date, the travel trade association ABTA pointed out that the exact start dates for both the EES and the upcoming European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) have not been officially confirmed.

This uncertainty has made some travel agents doubtful.

Noel Josephides, chairman of UK travel agent Sunvil, said they are not giving any advice to clients until they know if the scheme will actually start.

He thought that more bureaucracy would harm travel freedoms and that systems like the EES might discourage people from traveling to Europe.

EES implementation concerns at Dover

Meanwhile, P&O Ferries raised concerns about using the EES at the Port of Dover.

They said that the system, designed for airport passengers, does not work well in a port setting.

Since the port’s layout cannot separate passengers from freight traffic, they expect significant disruptions.

For international train journeys, like those with Eurostar, EES checks will occur during passport control in the UK due to the dual British-French borders.

Eurostar is spending €10 million to expand its London base at St Pancras station to handle the increased processing needs.

EES may deter UK travel

A survey by the UK’s Department for Transport found that 15% of British adults are less likely to travel to the EU once the EES launches.

Another 20% said they would delay or cancel their ferry trip to the EU if the system caused delays of more than an hour.

One of the main concerns among British travelers is the potential for long lines when registering in the system.

The European Scrutiny Committee of the UK has warned of possible delays of up to 14 hours at the Port of Dover and has asked the government to reconsider the start date of the scheme.

Agents: No need to hesitate traveling

Despite concerns about delays, travel agents said that Brits should not hesitate to travel to the EU from October.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of Advantage Travel Partnership, believed that although travelers may face delays when registering for the first time, the automated border controls will eventually speed up processing and improve the overall experience.

Bue-Said advised British travelers to book their trips through local agents to ensure they meet the new travel requirements for the Schengen Area.

This advice is supported by flight-free travel company Byway, which has already received questions from clients about the scheme’s implementation and documentation needs.

EES launch uncertainty and concerns persist

As the EU’s new EES gets closer to its launch date, travelers and industry experts still have concerns about possible delays.

The automated system aims to make border processing better, but the travel industry wants clearer communication and support to reduce travel disruptions.

British travelers are advised to stay informed about the new rules and consider booking through local agents to handle the changes smoothly.