New scheme should speed up border controls. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter


Visitors from the UK will have to give their fingerprints before travelling to Mallorca and the rest of Spain as well as other key European holiday destinations. The European Union Entry/Exit System (EES) is due to come into force at the end of this year, having been delayed twice.

The Entry/Exit System (EES)EN 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).

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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 traveller.

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. EES is among the measures undertaken as part of the Security Union and will help achieve the objectives of the European Agenda on SecurityEN and the European Agenda on MigrationEN in particular regarding border management and preventing cross-border crime and terrorism.

The European Commission presented the proposal for EESEN on 6 April 2016 as part of the revised Smart Borders PackageEN. After negotiations with the European Parliament and the Council the co-legislators reached an agreement in July 2017. The EES Regulation, together with a targeted amendment of the Schengen Border Code, were adopted on 20 November 2017 and entered into force on 29 December 2017.