Passport stamps are badges of honor for many travelers and form a paper trail of their adventures.
But they could soon be a thing of the past when you enter the Schengen area.
The new automated Entry/exit system (EES), due to launch in November 2023, will digitally register non-EU visitors, eliminating the need for physical stamps.
“EES will replace the current manual stamping system of passportswhich takes time, does not provide reliable data on border crossings and does not allow for a systematic detection of overduers,” reads a statement from the European Commission’s Department of Migration and Home Affairs.
What is the EU Entry/Exit System (EES)?
The EES will be an automated IT system for the registration of travelers from visa-exempt third countries or short-stay holders seen.
Every time a person crosses an external EU border, the system will record their name, type of travel document, biometric data (fingerprints and facial images) and the date and place of entry and exit. It will also record pushbacks.
Hopefully automation border control checks and self-service systems will improve security in the EU and be quicker for travellers. However, the airline industry and various countries have said that a lack of preparation could cause teething problems when the system is introduced.
It was originally scheduled to launch in 2022, but was delayed until May 2023 and again until November.
With the new system, travelers with visa-free access to the Schengen area it will be necessary to obtain the travel authorization online via the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). This will be launched in stages once the EES is operational.
Passport stamps are still required before the EES is launched
This serves as proof that they have not exceeded the 90-day visa-free limit in any 180-day period.
It usually happens automatically at security checkpoints, and for some travel buffs, it was even a small silver lining to leaving the EU.