Brits face longer waits when new EU checks come in next year

By Lisa James
Home » Brits face longer waits when new EU checks come in next year

British travellers are being warned new fingerprint and face checks on arrival at EU countries could take up to four times longer from next summer.

The Independent reports the Entry-Exit System (EES) of checks, due to come into force in May 2023, was developed with input from the UK when it was part of the European Union – but now the UK is no longer an EU member, the new system applies to British travellers as with all third-country nationals.

Under the EES system, the fingerprints and facial biometric of a third-country national must be checked each time they cross an EU external border.

“Citizens of European Union countries, even those outside the Schengen Area such as Ireland, are unaffected; officials can check only that they have a valid travel document,” the Independent said.

The newspaper contacted several members states to find out how Brits might be affected by the EES.

Slovenia said it would take up to four times longer to carry out the new process; Austria said process time would be doubled while Poland said the border control checks would take up to two minutes longer if everyone had the correct documents, while Croatia said checks would be ‘significantly longer’ and Finland said it expects a ‘significant increase of workload at the beginning’.

France says it will use new self-service kiosks at airports that are supervised remotely by a border guard.

The report says it’s not clear how the EES will work at the three ‘hard EU frontiers’, at Dover, the Folkestone Eurotunnel terminal and Eurostar’s starting point at St Pancras International,

It said Port of Dover Chief Executive Doug Bannister warned the Transport Select Committee last month that checkpoint times for motorists leaving the UK could increase seven-fold.

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