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Must British EU residents give biometric data in new border controls?

We look at how the incoming Entry-Exit System will work with regards to foreign nationals resident in the EU

We look at how the EU’s new Entry-Exit System will work for non-EU nationals who are resident Pic: Supertrooper / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Will French residents who are WA card holders also have to give their fingerprints and have a photo taken the first time they travel after the EU Entry/Exit System (EES) launches in May?  

The EU’s new border Entry-Exit System (EES) is set to come into place in May 2023, followed by the Etias visa-waiver scheme from November.

Read more: What is the EU’s incoming Etias travel authorisation scheme?

Read more: How will Etias EU visa-waiver scheme affect residents of France?

EES will track comings and goings of non-EU visitors to the Schengen area, including having their fingerprints scanned and a photo taken for entry into a database on first entry after implementation. They will be kept for three years. 

Passports will also be scanned to log a holder’s details and record their dates of entry and exit, replacing the need for a passport stamp for visitors to the area. Travellers’ identities will be checked against security lists. 

Pre-registration booths are planned at some airports but, at least for the time being, it is expected that people will still need to pass in front of an officer at a desk for final validation.

EES and Etias will apply to non-EU nationals either with a short-stay visa or who do not need a visa to visit for 90 days in any 180-day period. 

It will, of course, not apply to EU citizens nor to certain other people benefiting from exemptions, such as diplomats or transport workers.

But it can apply to EU citizens’ close non-EU relatives who do not hold an EU country residency card.

However, the European Commission has stated that it will not apply to non-EU nationals who hold long-stay visas and/or residency cards for an EU state.

As such, no, Britons who live in France are not affected and will not have to provide fingerprints and a photo for the database.

“When crossing the borders, holders of EU residence permits should be able to present to the border authorities their valid travel documents and residence permits,” the Commission states. 

You can find out more about this on the EU website

Related articles 

French airports worried about extra waiting due to EU Entry/Exit plan

Passports, Etias, EES: Changes to European border control in 2023

Longer waiting times expected due to new EU border checks

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