EU to scrap airport passport stamps, prepares biometric screening for Nigerians, others 

The European Union (EU) airports are preparing for the European Entry-Exit System (EES), set to launch in October 2024 for non-EU nationals which will involve scrapping of airport passport stamps.

This new system will also require the collection of biometric data from nationals of third-world countries entering the Schengen Area.

The EES aims to enhance border security and streamline border crossings. 

More insights 

The EES, set to launch in October 2024, mandates the collection of biometric data from nationals from developing (third world)countries entering the Schengen Area, aiming to enhance border security and streamline border crossings.  

Already, between 2020 and 2024, nearly 7.1 million non-immigrant visas were granted to foreign nationals for tourism or business purposes in the US.

However, reports indicate that many of these individuals entered the country without undergoing the required in-person consular interviews and biometric screening. 

The Inspector General of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has acknowledged that the exact number of visa applicants who bypassed biometric screening remains unknown, according to Visaguide. 

Biometric Update reveals that the fingerprint waiver program for non-immigrant visa holders ended in December. Despite this, many port directors at various entry points were unaware of this change for the past four years. 

These findings come as the DHS Inspector General also highlighted inefficiencies in the department’s screening and verification processes, including for asylum seekers with long-pending applications. 

Thus the EES is designed to register travelers from non-EU countries each time they enter or exit the Schengen zone, capturing biometric data such as fingerprints and facial images upon arrival and departure. 

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,” the EU states on its website. 

Despite the planned launch in October, there are concerns about the readiness of some EU airports, particularly smaller regional ones, to handle the new procedures. Dozens of airports across Europe are unprepared for the European Union’s upcoming biometric travel registration scheme, the Entry-Exit System (EES), according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). 

Concerns about unresolved issues needing urgent action have been raised by Rafael Schvartzman, IATA’s regional head for Europe. 

What to expect 

Travellers from third-world countries such as Nigeria and others should be prepared for longer queues, especially at smaller airports that might not be fully equipped for the EES yet.

Expect to have your fingerprints and facial images scanned upon arrival and departure. 

  • A mobile app for EES registration is in development, but its launch date and functionalities remain unclear.
  • While its availability could expedite the process, travellers shouldn’t rely on it for now. 
  • As the October deadline approaches, both third-country nationals and airport authorities must adapt to these significant changes.
  • The successful implementation of the EES is crucial for ensuring smooth and secure travel experiences for all non-EU visitors entering the Schengen Area. 
  • Travellers are advised to stay informed about the latest updates on the EES implementation and check with their chosen airports for specific procedures.
  • Given the evolving situation, delays or adjustments to the rollout timeline are possible. 


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