ETIAS To Cause Long Lines At Borders For Travellers From The UK

Travellers from the United Kingdom to Europe have recently been warned that long lines at borders will begin sometime next year as a result of biometric checks that the European Union plans to implement soon through ETIAS and EES systems.

(09.11.) According to the officials, the new system that the European Union intends to implement for all non-EU travellers entering its territory, might cause long lines at the borders. The two systems, European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) and the Entry-Exit System (EES) are scheduled to go live in the middle of 2022, just before the summer season starts. 

The first is a document that third-country citizens travelling to the Schengen Area under the EU visa-free regime, including UK nationals, will need to obtain before entering the Schengen Area.

The second, on the other hand, is an automated information technology system for registering third-country visitors, both short-stay visa holders and visa-exempt visitors, each time they cross an EU external border.

UK transportation officials are concerned that Brits will face longer wait times, particularly when using ferry ports and the Channel Tunnel.

During a meeting of the UK Lords Committee last week, at which the Justice and Home Affairs Committee debated the two new EU border management systems, the ETIAS and the EES, Tim Reardon, the head of the Dover Harbour Board, stated that not only would the waiting lines be longer, but passengers would also have to step out of their vehicles to complete the controls.

“There is no way to perform a biometric control without removing everyone from the vehicle… That’s the one thing you can’t do on our site because you’re in the middle of live traffic… It would be the same as asking people to get out of their cars at a toll booth on a highway. “It’s fundamentally unsafe, and it can’t happen,” Reardon stated during the debate.

“There is no such thing as an e-gate process for a car, and there is no such thing as an e-gate process for people who travel in a group – they are all one-at-a-time processes,” Reardon added.

Gareth Williams, Eurostar’s strategy director and company secretary, was also present at the meeting. According to him, the month of August, in particular, could be a source of concern because it is when the greatest number of British tourists visit France and Spain.

“If we take the peak of August, which is when we have the most likely first-time travellers – on peak trains and ferries, up to 80% of people will have to go through the system,” Williams said, attempting to underline the gravity of the situation.

The EES system is expected to go live in the first half of 2022. However,  the system may be delayed even further in the second half of the year, together with the ETIAS.

Nonetheless, the EU Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT, eu-LISA, has already begun recruiting staff to work on the systems and has opened ETIAS registration procedures for air carriers, sea carriers, and international carriers transporting groups overland by coach.

“The registration enables carriers to receive all information necessary for the preparation of their respective systems and business processes in order to consult the EU IT systems managed by eu-LISA, as the latter is regulated in the EES and ETIAS legislation,” the Agency stated when the registration procedures were opened.

Once both systems are operational, approximately 1.4 billion travellers, citizens of over 60 countries, who can travel visa-free to the 26 Schengen Area countries in Europe, will be required to apply for a travel authorization before entering EU territory.

Source: Schengen Visa Info

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