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Entry/Exit System (EES)

What is the Entry/Exit System (EES)?

Entry/Exit System (EES)The Entry/Exit System (EES) is a new scheme that will be established in the near future, by the European Union. The main purpose behind the founding of the EES is to register entry and exit data of non-EU nationals crossing the external borders of EU Member States in order to strengthen and protect the external borders of the Schengen area, and to safeguard and increase the security for its citizens.

What are the objectives of the Entry/Exit System (EES)?

The main objectives of the Entry/Exit System  of the EU are as follows:

  • To modernize the management of external borders by improving the quality and efficiency of external border controls of the Schengen Area.
  • To help Member States dealing with ever increasing number of travelers to the EU, without having to increase the number of border guards.
  • Assist in the identification of third-country nationals who do not or no longer fulfil the conditions for entry.
  • To reduce irregular migration by systematically identifying and addressing the phenomenon of overstaying.
  • To allow refusals of entry in the EES to be checked electronically.
  • To enable the automation of border checks on third-country nationals.
  • To facilitate the management of migration flows.
  • To contribute to the fight against terrorism and serious crime.
  • To ensure a high level of internal security.
  • To inform third-country nationals of the duration of their authorized stay.
  • To combat identity fraud and the misuse of travel documents.
  • To contribute to the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorist offenses or of other serious criminal offenses.

Which countries are subject to EES?

The EES will apply to all third-country nationals traveling to the Schengen Area under all types of purposes, for both short-term and long-term stays, including the nationals of those countries that:

  • Fall under the visa-exempt program.
  • Fall under visa regime.

In addition, those that have been refused entry for short-term visits to the Schengen Area, are also subject to the system.

Who will be able to access data in the EES?

Only the duly authorized staff of the national authorities of each Member State will have access to the EES for entering, amending, erasing and consulting the data. These  competent national authorities can be border authorities, visa authorities and immigration authorities.

Before the final establishment of the EES, the Schengen member states will need to provide the eu-LISA with a list of these authorities without delay.

Member states will be to consult or access the EES data under the purpose of prevention, detection or investigation of terrorist offenses and other serious criminal acts. They will have to ensure that the use of the EES is necessary, appropriate and proportionate.

How will the Entry/Exit System work?

The eu-LISA agency is responsible for the development of the Entry/Exit System and its operational management.

The EES will consist of the following:

  • The EES will be composed of a Central System. Each of the member states will have their own National Uniform Interface (NUI) connected to the Central system through a secure and encrypted Communication Infrastructure.
  • A Secure Communication Channel will connect the EES Central System and the VIS Central System.
  • Web Service – through which third country nationals traveling to the Schengen area will be able to check how many days longer they can remain in the Schengen territory.

What data will be registered in the EES?

The following data of each third-country traveler entering any of the Schengen zone countries, will be registered in the Entry / Exit System:

  • Facial image.
  • Personal data:
    • Surname (family name).
    • First name or names (given names).
    • Date of birth.
    • Nationality or nationalities.
    • Sex.
  • Data on travel document(s):
    • The type and number of the travel document(s)
    • The three letter code of the issuing country of the travel document(s)
    • The date of expiry of the validity of the travel document (s)

A file containing the data listed above will be created for each traveler entering the Schengen zone at least once. Some specific information on their each entry and exit from the Schengen Area will be registered in the EES. This data is as explained below.

Third country nationals subject to visa regime

As per third-country nationals who need a visa for short-term visits to the Schengen Area, the following information will also be entered in the Entry / Exit system when these persons enter the Schnegen area:

  • The date and time of the entry / exit.
  • The border crossing point of the entry / exit.
  • The authority that authorized the entry/ exit.
  • The short-stay visa sticker number, including:
    • The three letter code of the issuing Member State.
    • The type of short-stay visa.
    • The end date of the maximum duration of the stay as authorized by the short-stay visa.
    • The date of expiry of the validity of the short-stay visa.
  • The information indicating that the short-stay visa has been issued with limited territorial validity (if applicable).

Visa-exempt third-country nationals

The following information on this category of travelers to the Schengen area will be registered in the EES:

  • The date and time of the entry / exit.
  • The border crossing point of the entry / exit.
  • The authority that authorized the entry / exit.
  • They will also be required to give fingerprints (children under the age of 12 shall be exempt from this requirement).

Role of the Entry/Exit System on Visa Issuance

All embassies or other authorities responsible for issuing Schengen visas shall consult the EES when processing visa applications. The EES should also be consulted before taking the decision to annul, revoke or extend the period of validity of an issued visa.

Visa authorities will be given access to the EES directly from the VIS to access any of the following data about the traveler:

  • Facial image.
  • Personal data.
  • Data on travel document(s).
  • The short-stay visa sticker number, including the three letter code of the issuing Member State.
  • The fingerprint data or the fingerprint data combined with the facial image.
  • The entry/exit records, included any entry refusal

When will the EES start operating?

The final text will now have to be adopted by the Council. The Agency for the operational management of large-scale information systems in the area of freedom, security and justice, eu-LISA, is expected to start the development of the system this year.

According to the European Commission the Entry/Exit System will contribute to achieving full interoperability of EU information systems by 2020.

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