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What is the EES and how does it work?

July 5, 2024

In Autumn this year, the EU will introduce a new digital border – called the Entry/Exit System (EES).  This will require third country nationals, including UK nationals, visiting the EU to create a digital record and provide their biometric data (fingerprints and facial image) at the border when they enter the EU’s Schengen Zone.  

Entry/Exit System (EES) - information source European Union website

To find out the difference between EES and ETIAS, go the the comparison article on this website

The Entry/Exit System (EES) will be an automated IT system for registering travellers from third-countries, both short-stay visa holders and visa exempt travellers, each time they cross an EU external border. 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, in full respect of fundamental rights and data protection.

It will also record refusals of entry. EES will replace the current system of manual stamping of passports, which is time consuming, does not provide reliable data on border crossings and does not allow a systematic detection of over-stayers (travellers who have exceeded the maximum duration of their authorised stay).

EES will contribute to prevent irregular migration and help protect the security of European citizens. The new system will also help bona fide third-country nationals to travel more easily while also identifying more efficiently over-stayers as well as cases of document and identity fraud. In addition to this, the system will enable to make a wider use of automated border control checks and self-service systems, which are quicker and more comfortable for the traveller.

The European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA) is responsible for developing and managing the system.

Background

EES is among the measures undertaken as part of the Security Union and will help achieve the objectives of the European Agenda on Security and the European Agenda on Migration in particular regarding border management and preventing cross-border crime and terrorism.

The European Commission presented the proposal for EES on 6 April 2016 as part of the revised Smart Borders Package. After negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council the co-legislators reached an agreement in July 2017. The EES Regulation, together with a targeted amendment of the Schengen Border Code, were adopted on 20 November 2017 and entered into force on 29 December 2017.

Exemption for French residents (source British Embassy Paris)

UK nationals who hold a valid EU residency permit as well as beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement (who were lawfully resident in the EU before 1 January 2021 and hold a Withdrawal Agreement Residency Permit) will be exempt from registration in EES, provided they hold the correct documentation. 

·      In France this includes all forms of Withdrawal Agreement residency permits, including temporary, 5-year, 10-year and permanent residency permits. Any other valid residency permit issued by France or any other EU member state will also allow for exemption.  

·      Minors in possession of a Document de circulation pour étranger mineur (DCEM), whether travelling accompanied or alone, will be exempt from EES. DCEMs are free for beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you have one of these documents, you will not need to register in the EES when travelling.  

What can you do to prepare for EES? 

·      If you are the parent or carer of a minor, you should apply for Document de circulation pour étranger mineur (DCEM).  

·      Minors need this whether travelling accompanied or alone, to be exempt from EES.  

·      DCEMs are free for beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement. If you have one of these documents, you will not need to register in the EES when travelling.  

·      You should apply for this via the French official website Demander ou renouveler un DCEM (Démarche en ligne) | Service-Public.fr