FAQ about the Entry/Exit System

What are the objectives of the EES?

  • Modernising and improving the quality and efficiency of border controls in Europe
  • Facilitation of border crossing for all third-country nationals
  • Supporting EU member states in dealing with constantly growing passenger numbers – without the need of additional border guards
  • For European nations it will be easier to

    • reliably identify overstayers
    • prevent illegal entry
    • combat document and identity fraud
    • protect themselves more effectively against organised crime and terrorism

When will the EES be operational?

As things stand at present, the EES will be operational from 2021.

Which travellers are affected by EES?

To third-country nationals, visa-required and visa-exempt travelers in the Schengen area.

Which data will be stored?

Following data will be stored:

  • 4 fingerprints
  • Facial image
  • Date and place of entry and exit
  • Identity details and other information from the travel document

Each data record resembles an electronic stamp and thus replacing the previous manual stamping procedure.

How long will the data be stored and who has access to the data?

This data is usually stored for three years; if a traveller extends their visit without permission, their data could be stored for up to five years.

It is accessible to Migration offices, border guards and – under certain circumstances – general law enforcement authorities and Europol staff

Are there age limits for biometric recording? If so, which ones?

 A facial image is taken of each third-country national (including, for example, infants). Fingerprints may only be registered from the age of 12.

Are there regulations which biometric feature is to be selected as the primary identification feature?

No, national authorities must determine for each border crossing point whether facial images or fingerprints are to be used as the primary biometric feature for identification.

Which Technical Guidelines and Standards are relevant for EES?

The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has published various technical guidelines in the area of biometrics and eIDs. With regards to EES the following two technical guidelines are of particular importance.

  • BSI TR-03121 Biometrics for Public Sector Applications
  • BSI TR-03135 Machine Authentication of MRTDs for Public Sector Applications

Both technical guidelines are available as download (free of charge) on the BSI website.

Another technical guideline is currently in the works: BSI TR-03156 Public Sector Identity Management in Conjunction with European Registers and Border Control.

With regards to biometric quality, ISO/IEC 19794-5 (Facial image) and NFIQ 2.0 (Fingerprint image) are relevant.