Entry/Exit System (EES)

Overview

The Entry/Exit System (EES) will be an automated IT system for registering third-country travelers including both short-stay visa holders and visa exempt travelers, 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 (travelers who have exceeded the maximum duration of their authorized 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 traveler.

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. The EES is expected to be operational towards the end of 2023.

EES And Travel to Italy

The EES is for EU external borders — therefore if you are travelling between Italy and France things will remain as they are, but if you are entering Italy from a non-EU country (UK included) the new system will apply to you.

EES will apply to all non-EU citizens, including those who possess a temporary or permanent resident’s permit of Italy. Travelers with dual citizenship will be exempt if they enter Italy on their Italian or EU passport.

As mentioned above, besides the gathering or your passport details, the system will also record facial images and fingerprints of all Non-EU passengers, similar to that of what is gathered in the US from foreign visitors.

Very Important: The new system will record both entry and exit dates and will show how much remains in the 90-day limit that Non-EU citizens need to respect when entering the Schengen area. It will also show individuals who have previously been denied entry. This gathering of information will make it much more difficult to overstay in the Schengen area.

Tourists: Very little will change for this category of travelers besides having to give their fingerprints when they enter. They will also be told how long they can stay in the Schengen area.

Residents in Italy: The European Commission has confirmed that Non-EU nationals who hold an Italian resident’s permit will not be included either in the Entry/Exit System or ETIAS, as both systems are aimed at short-term visitors to Italy. Essentially this means that foreigners living in Italy should not use the new automated gates that will be used as part of EES when it is introduced in May 2023. The reason for this is that these gates only give you the option to scan your passport and not to present a visa or PSE (Permesso di Soggiorno Elettronico). The automated gates will also indicate how long a visitor has been in the Schengen area and if they have overstayed their 90-day limit, which does not apply to residents. To avoid any issues, travelers with an Italian visa of PSE should go to one of the manned border control windows, so they can present their passport and residency documents to avoid an automatic entry stamp, which would be recorded by the automated gates.

EES is different from ETIAS, which will be operational later in 2023. This does not affect residents but will charge tourists a €7,00 fee for an entry visa.

European Countries Using the Entry/Exit System (EES)

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Damien O'Farrell

Global Mobility Specialist and Expat Coach with thirty plus years’ experience in Global Mobility.