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Brits Brace For Airport Chaos As EU Implements Stricter Border Laws

As autumn 2024 approaches, British travellers are anticipating widespread airport chaos across the European Union due to significant changes in border laws. The new regulations will mandate fingerprint and face scans for British passport holders entering EU countries, marking a departure from the traditional passport stamping process. 

Since the UK's exit from the EU, British citizens have already experienced delays at passport control as the country is now classified as a 'third country.' Passport stamping, the current method, is being replaced by the Entry/Exit System (EES), a move expected to exacerbate queues and necessitate the submission of sensitive personal data, which will be stored in a comprehensive database.

The EES aims to meticulously record the entry and exit details of travellers from 'third countries' to the EU, currently under the leadership of Ursula von der Leyen. While the European Commission has yet to announce the official start date for these scans, Eurotunnel, actively working on the system's implementation, has projected a commencement date of October 6, 2024.

France, in anticipation of the changes, has reportedly ordered 540 data kiosks and 250 tablets to streamline the processing of travellers, particularly those using ferries from the UK. Originally announced during the UK's EU membership, the plans have faced multiple delays as individual countries grapple with aligning their systems with the broader European database.

The timing of the EES introduction in October appears to spare attendees of major events like the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany and the Paris Olympics next summer from the initial disruptions.

Since the UK's departure from the EU, passport checks at Dover have led to lengthy queues, with holidaymakers enduring waits of up to 12 hours during last Easter. Additionally, six months after the EES launch, British travellers may face further alterations with the introduction of Etias, a requirement for entry to the Schengen Area, incurring a fee of €7 per person.

As the clock ticks down to the implementation of these stringent measures, both British travellers and EU authorities are gearing up for a seismic shift in airport procedures, with potential ripple effects on tourism and travel logistics.

Edited by: Victoria Muzio

Photo credit: Connor Danylenko


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