The EES applies to you if you are a non-EU national travelling for a short stay to a European country using the EES who either:
- possesses a short-stay visa; or
- does not need a visa to stay for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period.
Your travel document data and personal data will be collected, as well as your entry and exit dates, and will be registered electronically in the system. This procedure will facilitate your border crossing.
If you overstay the period allowed in the European countries using the EES, the system will identify you and record this information.
In the event that the authorities refuse you entry, the system will also record this information.
It is important to remember that the period of 90 days in any 180 days shall be calculated as a single period for all the European countries using the EES.
The EES does not apply to:
Please note that Bulgaria and Romania do not issue Schengen visas, however both countries use the EES. Therefore, when planning to travel to Bulgaria and Romania there are specific rules that you should take into account.
If you don’t need a visa to travel to Bulgaria or Romania, the duration of your stay in these two countries will be taken into account when calculating the overall limit permitted for a short stay – 90 days in 180 days.
If you need a visa and:
- You possess a Schengen short-stay visa and plan on visiting Bulgaria or Romania, the period of your stay in these two countries will not use up the number of days you are allowed by the Schengen visa to stay in the Schengen area (a travel zone without borders between the following 27 Schengen countries issuing Schengen visas: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). However, please note that the time spent in Bulgaria and Romania will be taken into account when checking compliance with the overall limit of 90 days in 180 days.
- You possess a national short-stay visa issued by either Bulgaria or Romania, this visa will be valid to enter these two countries, but not the Schengen area. The duration of your stay permitted by this visa will count on the territory of these countries. It should be kept in mind that this stay will still count towards the 90-day limit if you intend to travel to a European country using EES on the basis of a Schengen short-stay visa.
Furthermore, if a short-stay visa issued by Bulgaria or Romania is valid for only one or two entries, your passport will be stamped upon entry to and exit from these countries, in addition to the creation of your electronic file in the EES.
The overall limit of 90 days in a 180-day period should always be respected.
By modernising border management across the European countries using the system, the EES:
- makes travelling to the territory of European countries using the EES easier and border checks more efficient
- prevents irregular immigration (e.g. the phenomenon of ‘overstayers’)
- helps combat terrorism and serious organised crime by acting as an identity verification tool
Specifically, the EES:
- provides precise information to travellers regarding the maximum duration of their authorised stays in the territory of all European countries using the EES
- identifies ‘overstayers’, (non-EU nationals admitted for a short stay who have exceeded the limit of their authorised stay)
- electronically registers non-EU nationals’ entries and exits to and from the territory of European countries using the EES in addition to entry refusals
- reduces wait times in passport control queues by allowing for automated border controls (where available and under the supervision of passport control officers)
- replaces the need for passports to be stamped (unless exceptions apply)
- supports the identification of terrorists, criminals, suspects, and victims of crimes
The EES and the rules of the Schengen Borders Code give European countries using the EES the possibility to automate their processes. This will make data collection and verification easier.
Automation means that, if you are a non-EU national, you are able to use dedicated equipment – a “self-service system”, if available, to register when crossing the border. Through the self-service system, you can check if your data is still recorded in the EES and, if no data is present, you can upload your data for subsequent verification by a passport control officer.
After using the self-service system, you can then go to a border control lane where the passport control officer will have already received:
- information from the self-service system (including checks against other databases)
- confirmation of your identity
- the remaining duration of your stay
The passport control officer can then ask further questions before deciding to grant or refuse access to the respective territory.
The automated preparation of the border check before you reach the passport control officer will gradually help to reduce queues, once a sufficient number of travellers use the self-service systems. The automation replaces time-consuming steps, allowing the passport control officers to concentrate on assessing the individual's situation. This helps to streamline border processes.
If you are a non-EU national for whom data is to be entered in the EES, you need to have a biometric passport (a passport containing a chip with your biometric information collected from you at the moment you applied for the passport) to be able to use automation, where available.
If you have been granted access to a national facilitation programme, the passport control officers in the respective territory may not need to verify:
- your point of departure and destination
- the purpose of your intended stay and the corresponding supporting documents, if necessary
- whether you possess sufficient means of subsistence for the duration and purpose of your intended stay, your return to the country of origin, or transit to a third country (or whether you are in a position to acquire such means lawfully)
If you need a visa to travel to the European countries using the EES, the system will store only your facial image (as your fingerprints have already been registered in the Visa Information System /VIS at the time you applied for a visa).
If you don’t need a visa to travel to the European countries using the EES, the system will store a combination of four of your fingerprints and your facial image.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ‘purpose limitation’ is a requirement that personal data be collected for specified, explicit, and legitimate purposes and not be processed further in a manner incompatible with those purposes. The EES complies with this and other data protection principles, such as “data protection by design and data protection by default”, and the requirements of necessity, proportionality, and data quality.
Safeguards are in place to ensure the rights of travellers as regards the protection of their private lives and personal data. Their personal data will only be retained in the EES for as long as necessary and for the purpose(s) for which it was collected.
Biometrics are a reliable method of identifying undocumented travellers or matching entry and exit data of ‘bona fide’ persons or ensuring accurate identification of persons in general, despite that the use of biometrics have an impact on the privacy of travellers.
Technology and information systems can help public authorities protect people’s fundamental rights. The collection of biometric data can significantly reduce cases of mistaken identity, discrimination, or racial profiling. It can also prevent children from going missing or becoming victims of trafficking. Furthermore, it can reduce the risk of people being wrongfully apprehended and arrested. In this way, biometric technology will contribute to increasing the security of people visiting or residing in European countries using the EES. It will help in the fight against serious crime and terrorism.
The data stored in the EES is protected against abuse, as access to it is restricted to specific staff within national authorities.
The transfer of data to third parties - whether public or private entities - is prohibited, except in the cases covered here. All data processing is done by the European countries using the EES. The European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice (eu-LISA) will ensure that the EES is operated in accordance with the applicable legislation. Furthermore, strong safeguards are in place for the effective protection of personal data rights:
- as a non-EU national to which the EES applies, you have the right to request access to your data, or to request the rectification, completion or deletion of data relating to you in the EES here and here
- the EES is supervised by both the European Data Protection Supervisor and independent national supervisory authorities
- the EES has been developed in accordance with the principles of data protection by design and by default
- full compliance with fundamental rights and data protection rules requires technology and information systems to be well designed and correctly used
In addition to the EES, there are currently three main centralised information systems that have been developed by the EU with respect to its borders:
- the Schengen Information System (SIS)
- the Visa Information System (VIS)
- the European Asylum Dactyloscopy Database (EURODAC)
These three systems are complementary, and - with the exception of SIS - primarily target non-EU nationals. These systems also help national authorities fight crime and terrorism.
It is expected that a fourth centralised information system - the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) - will be launched soon after the EES and will concern visa-exempt non-EU nationals. In contrast, to the Visa Information System (which contains information related to Schengen visas), ETIAS will contain information dealing with travel authorisations for non-EU nationals not requiring visas to enter and stay for a short time period in the territory of European countries requiring ETIAS.
The Entry/Exit System and the above mentioned systems will be part of the interoperability between the EU information systems framework that will further help to correctly identify persons whose data are stored in these IT systems, therefore contributing to combating identity fraud.