Updated: 06/06/2024

Gone are the days when Brits could simply jump on a plane and head to Europe for some sun and Sangria. This month a new timeline has been announced for the introduction of the EU’s Entry/Exit System (EES). The post-Brexit system was supposed to launch in 2022, but was rescheduled for May 2023 and then pushed back again.

The EES is set to launch this Autumn and will affect the majority of British holidaymakers heading into Europe and the four Schengen countries – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Cyprus and Ireland will not be implementing the new system and passports will be checked and stamped manually.

Following the introduction of the EES, all entries and exits to and from Europe will be recorded. On arrival at the country’s airport, you will be expected to fill out personal details, have a photograph of your face taken and your fingerprints scanned. Similarly, if you are going on a cruise, your information will be taken at your first EU port. Passports will also be checked, as normal.

If you are travelling via boat or train from London St Pancras, Dover or Folkstone, your information will be taken during your departure from the UK.

The EES will apply to people who are travelling for a total duration up to 90 days in a 180 day period. Those who are already citizens of the EU or Schengen countries and Brits who have EU residency will be exempt from the EES.

British citizens who still have an in-date EU passport may also be exempt from the EES, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Previously, the Eurotunnel Chief Executive, Yann Leriche told the BBC “journeys will take five-to-seven minutes longer, but extra lanes and technology means the process will go smoothly”. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Departmental Office (FCDO), however, have said to expect longer delays during the implementation of the new system.

To ease the expected delays, an app is due to be released early next summer which will allow you to input some of the required information before travelling. No other information is available regarding the EES app at this time.

Travellers looking to spend more than 90-days in the EU and Schengen area at one time, for example if you are backpacking in Europe, may need to apply for a visa. More information on the entry requirements for trips to Europe which exceed 90-days can be found on the Government Website.

This isn’t the only change to travel that people need to be aware of. The European Travel Authorisation System (ETIAS) will be introduced in mid-2025. The ETIAS will work similarly to the USA’s ESTA and will need to be applied for ahead of travel.

Anyone travelling to Europe, excluding Ireland, after the travel scheme is introduced will need to apply for an ETIAS.

While those who are under 18 and aged 70 or over will be able to apply for an ETIAS free of charge, everyone else will need to pay the €7 fee. The ETIAS will then be valid for 3 years and will cover you for multiple trips during this time. Having said that, if your passport expires during the three years, or your ETIAS is due to expire while you’re on holiday you will need to apply for a new one before you travel. There are currently no live websites for the ETIAS, any websites asking for payment for an ESTIAS are likely to be scams.

It is believed the processing time will be between 30 minutes and 96 hours. With this in mind, you will need to ensure you allow enough time for your ETIAS to be processed before you are due to travel.

Those who have already booked a holiday for later in 2025, once the ESTIAS has been introduced, will need to apply in order to enter the EU and Schengen area. It is not yet known whether there will be a grace period for people who have already made bookings.

The costs associated with being denied entry to a country for not having the correct documentation or being refused an ESTIAS is not covered by travel insurance.

In addition, missed departures caused by delays due to the EES will not be covered by your travel insurance. It is recommended you allow plenty of time to pass through the new security measures.