Non-EU nationals who frequently travel to Europe may benefit from derogations from thorough checks upon arrival by way of national facilitation programmes. These programmes will facilitate border crossings by making information about a non-EU national’s prior stays in the European countries using the EES, and/or refusals of entry, visible to passport control officers before their passport is checked.
These derogations are privileges - no European country is obligated to grant them. They are also country-specific - a derogation in one European country is not valid in another European country unless an agreement exists between the two countries.
If you are granted access to a national facilitation programme, 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)
These programmes do not apply if you are a person enjoying the right of free movement under Union law. According to the relevant legislation (Article 2 (5) of Regulation (EU) 2016/399) persons enjoying the right of free movement under EU law are:
- EU citizens
- non-EU nationals who are members of the family of a Union citizen exercising his or her right to free movement
- non-EU nationals and their family members who, under agreements between the Union and its Member States and those third countries, enjoy rights of free movement equivalent to those of Union citizens
To be able to take advantage of a national facilitation programme, you must:
- meet the entry requirements of the country you wish to travel to
- possess a valid travel document and, where applicable, a valid visa or residence permit
- be able to justify frequent travel to the European countries using the EES
- show evidence of your lawful use of visas, economic status in your country of residence, and intention to leave the European country in question before the end of your authorised stay
- prove you have (or can lawfully acquire) the financial means to cover the entire duration of your intended stays in the European country in question
You can find out the non-EU nationalities (this will be made available at a later stage) and the European countries using the EES who established national facilitation programmes, whether or not you are eligible to benefit from a national facilitation programme.
If you prove eligibility, you are granted access to a national facilitation programme for maximum one year.
Renewals are subject to yearly eligibility reassessments and are valid:
- for a maximum of five years; or
- until your travel document, multiple-entry visa, long-stay visa, or residence permit expires, whichever happens first.
If it becomes evident that you no longer meet the eligibility criteria, your national facilitation programme access can be revoked.
Consultation between European countries
If a European country responsible for examining an application for a national facilitation programme has doubts about the information you provided, your statements, or your supporting documents, it may consult other European countries before issuing a final decision.
Agreements between European countries
Following international agreements, you may in certain cases be able to benefit from national facilitation programmes in more than one European country using the EES. Information regarding such agreements can be found here. (This will be made available at a later stage.)