After being postponed for a few months, the EU’s new Entry-Exit System (EES) is planned to be launched at border posts in November this year. This will directly affect third-country citizens entering the European Union (Schengen area) for the first time, who will have to undergo an additional registration procedure before crossing the border.
This upcoming change will also require new infrastructure and space at border crossing points, and all Lithuanian airports are among the first in Europe to have already made these necessary changes to prepare for the start of the system.
The new Entry-Exit System is based on an EU regulation which stipulates that all Schengen area countries that have an external border with third countries must make it possible for foreigners to register in the EES, which requires the introduction of a new system of registration and border checks, as well as the setting up of a new space for registration and border controls. Lithuania has opted for a comprehensive universal system.
At the moment, many EU countries and airports are still in the process of implementing automated screening systems and preparing their premises for the EES procedure, but Lithuanian airports are among the first in the region and the EU to have already completed the preparation of the new system infrastructure. The hardware of the system has already been finalised, while software installation as well as configuration are underway.
Once the screening starts, third-country citizens will not only receive detailed information on the procedures to be followed but will also have the opportunity to perform most of the services completely independently in the self-service terminals.Vidas Kšanas, Director of Safety and Security Department of Lithuanian Airports
“We have already carried out contractual works on the adaptation of the spaces in all Lithuanian airports, which will be much more convenient for passengers to pass border checks and will also include self-service terminals and information screens. We have also carefully planned not only the new areas where additional checks will be carried out, but also modelled the processes for passenger flow management and passenger convenience. Once the screening starts, third-country citizens will not only receive detailed information on the procedures to be followed but will also have the opportunity to perform most of the services completely independently in the self-service terminals”, said Vidas Kšanas, Director of Safety and Security Department of Lithuanian Airports.
The Entry-Exit System registration and inspection procedure will collect and verify biometric and personal data on third-country citizens entering the EU for the first time. In addition to passport data, biometric data will be collected, including fingerprints and facial images. Third-country citizens entering the Schengen area will not have their individual fingerprints in their passport, but the system will work automatically and will capture the data in special databases.
There is no doubt that the new system will, in the near future, make a significant contribution not only to the convenience of travel but also to the security of the Schengen area.Lithuanian Airports
Lithuanian Airports closely coordinated the implementation of the new EES inspection procedure with the specialists of the State Border Guard Service (SBGS), who will manage the system and carry out the inspections later.
The SBGS assures that the system will reduce the inconvenience for travellers to register and save them a lot of time on procedures. Once the system is operational, travellers will be recommended to familiarise themselves with the Lithuanian registration system ROBARS (Robotic Optoelectronic Biometric / Alphanumeric Registration System) before arrival, on the system’s website.
The total investment for the launch of the space adaptation at Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga airports amounts to around €3 million. Such self-service systems for third-country travellers should be introduced at all major Lithuanian international border inspection posts.