UK nationals traveling to Europe were recently warned that over the next year they would start facing long lines at borders due to the biometric checks the European Union has. intends to impose soon.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) and Entry-Exit System (EES) are expected to come into force in mid-2022. The first is a document that citizens of third countries under the EU visa-free regime, including here UK nationals, will need to obtain before traveling to the Schengen area.
The second is an automated computerized system for registering travelers from third countries, both short-stay visa holders and visa-exempt travelers, each time they cross an external border. of the EU.
British transport bosses fear that Brits will face longer waiting times, especially when using ferry ports and the Channel Tunnel.
At a meeting of the UK Committee of Lords on Tuesday 2 November, in which the Justice and Home Affairs Committee discussed the EU’s two new border management systems, the ETIAS and the EES, EU exit officer for the Port of Dover council Tim Reardon said that not only would queues be longer, but travelers would also have to get out of vehicles to carry out checks.
“There is no way to do a biometric check without getting everyone out of the vehicleâ¦ It’s the only thing on our site that can’t happen because you’re in trafficâ¦ It would be like asking people to get out from their car at a motorway tollbooth. It’s inherently dangerous, and it can’t happenâReardon said during the debate.
“There is no electronic door for a car, and there is no electronic door process for people traveling in groups – these are all one-at-a-time processes.“, added Reardon.
Eurostar Chief Strategy Officer and Secretary General Gareth Williams was also present at the meeting. According to him, the month of August could in particular become a worrying period, because that is where the greatest number of Britons go to France.
“If we take the peak in August, this is where we have the most likely first-time travelers – on peak trains, up to 80% of people will have to go through the system.“Williams said, trying to emphasize the seriousness of the problem.
The EES system is expected to become operational in the first half of 2022. However, SchengenVisaInfo.com recently reported that the system could be further delayed in the second half of the year, which means that the functionalization of ETIAS will also be delayed. .
Yet eu-LISA, which is the EU’s agency for the operational management of large-scale IT, has already started recruiting staff to work on the systems and has also opened registration procedures. ETIAS for air, sea and international carriers. transport of groups by land by coach.
“Registration allows carriers to receive all the information necessary to prepare their respective business systems and processes in order to consult the EU IT systems managed by eu-LISA, the latter being regulated by EES and ETIAS legislation.Â», The Agency announced when the registration procedures opened.
Once both systems start working, around 1.4 billion travelers, citizens of over 60 countries around the world, who can travel visa-free to the 26 Schengen countries in Europe, will need to apply for a travel authorization. before reaching the territory of one of these countries. .