The delay on the EU Entry/Exit System has been hailed as good news for coach and haulier companies as it gives them time to prepare properly for the changes. Initially had been due to come into force in May 2023, but it has now been pushed back until the end of the year.
The system requires anyone who is not an EU citizen to be photographed and fingerprinted as part of the border controls. This is the second time it has been pushed back, as it was initially due to be implemented in 2022. The photographs and fingerprints will only be required once for each person, and then they will be stored and used to validate any subsequent travel in the EU. It has been welcomed by the Road Hauliers Association, who had already raised concerns, saying that it would cause big delays for anyone EU-bound as a coach passenger. The port of Dover has also said they envisage delays once the scheme is introduced. The managing director of the RHA, Richard Smith, said “We welcome the delay as the issues with the practical operation of the scheme including the infrastructure required would not have been overcome by May. We’ve raised concerns about the slow progress on getting the system ready, and then familiarising our operators with how it will work. This extra time to get it up and running effectively must be used wisely.”
Delays and Red Tape
Also beginning in November 2023 is the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), so the plan is that the EU Entry/Exit system will work in tandem with this. All visa-exempt travellers heading to NE 30 EU countries will have to have an approved ETIAS application before travel. So this means that anyone travelling by coach must first register and gain approval from ETIAS first. This allows travel authorisation valid for three years. On arrival at the Border, every coach passenger would need to have their faces, scanned and fingerprints taken, which would add delays to travelling times. However, once these have been done for the first time, any subsequent visits will be faster, because the information will be matched using the passport and previous pictures and fingerprints. Obviously, the practicalities of trying to do this port side are virtually nil, so all coach operators will need to revamp their processes to make sure systems are in place to get each passenger onto the system beforehand.