Major delay in new travel system may mean holiday boost for Britons

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The new exit and entry system (EES), which would require residents from third-countries to have their photographs taken and fingerprints scanned, will no longer be brought in this May. How will this affect travel in 2023?

The change will require any Briton travelling to the EU to apply for a travel authorisation document that will allow them into the bloc for three years.

Each time they seek entry into the EU they will be asked to show a facial recognition image and provide four fingerprints – although children under 12 will be exempt.

This will apply to entry through EU ports, airports or border checkpoints for non-EU travellers.

The change was expected to be rolled out in May 2023 but is now being pushed back to the end of the year.

This means that those travelling in half term, Easter break and over the summer will be able to avoid delays as the industry gets used to the new regime.

The travel industry took a huge hit during the pandemic with the many travel restrictions imposed worldwide.

The news of the delay may mean easier travel for holidaymakers keen to get away this year after the Covid-induced draught.

However, long term it aims to speed up the process of entering and exiting. But what will the new entry and exit rules mean for travellers when they do come into place?

The European Union explained: “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 a wider use of automated border control checks and self-service systems, which are quicker and more comfortable for the traveller.”

When it is actualised, the EES will apply to all EU member states – aside from Cyprus and Ireland – as well as four non-EU countries – Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The International Air Transport Association, which represents 300 airlines, were pleased that the change will not come into place as early as March.

A spokesman for the association stated that the EES system would be a “game changer for how the EU’s borders are managed”.

“There are, however, a number of issues which must be resolved to ensure a smooth rollout and operation of the new system so that air passengers do not face disruptions.

“Postponing the implementation until after the busy 2023 summer period will give airlines, airports, the EU and national authorities the opportunity to resolve these issues and ensure the system is fully tested,” as reported by The Telegraph.

Olivier Jankovec, director-general of the European region of Airports Council International – which represents more than 500 European airports – tweeted that the delay is a “huge relief”.

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