The EU is working on a phone app that will allow non-EU visitors to pre-register data for its Entry/Exit System (EES) when the new border check comes into force later this year.
The European Commission told The Connexion that the app will be available to ‘third-country’ (non-EU) nationals to use before travelling to the EU.
The aim is to have it ready before the EES comes into play, a Commission press officer said, adding that more information will be made available soon.
Individual countries will also be free to develop their own tools to facilitate border crossings to further help “speed up border checks and avoid potential long waiting times”, she added.
It is not thought that the app will be obligatory; EES registration directly at border checkpoints, plus with use of special booths where installed, is still expected to be available.
The EES is a digital system which will track the arrivals and departures of non-EU visitors to the Schengen area.
It will collect data from people’s passports, including date of birth and full name, as well as fingerprints and a photo (on first entry to the EU after its launch), entry and exit dates, and information concerning refusals of entry to the EU and/or orders to leave.
The information once collected will be valid for three years.
It will be aimed at travellers coming for short stays, for example UK tourists and second-home owners (and others from ‘visa waiver’ countries such as the US) using their entitlement to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
It will not be required for people who hold visas or a carte de séjour for France.
It has not been revealed yet which data will be able to be pre-registered on the app.
Some French airports are known to have been preparing to install pre-registration booths where some data can be taken for arriving passengers before they pass in front of an official at a desk.
However, it was previously unclear if it would be possible to enable passengers to complete part of the registration before arriving.
This was called for last year by the French airports body UAF amid fears that the EES would lead to longer queues.
At present the stated official aim is for the EES to start this May, however it is now widely thought that the start will be put off until later this year.