EES (Entry/Exit System): What it will mean for British expats in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
EES (Entry/Exit System)

The much-talked-about Entry/Exit System (EES) is due to come into effect later this year, though an exact date has yet to be confirmed. This new automated system aims to streamline border controls across the European Union, which is particularly significant following Brexit.

With Britain no longer a part of the EU, the EES brings several implications for British citizens, especially regarding the 90-day rule, which has already caused considerable confusion and concern among Brits with second homes in Spain and other EU countries.

Understanding the 90-day rule

One of the primary issues arising from Brexit is the enforcement of the 90-day rule. This rule restricts non-EU citizens, including Brits, to stay in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within any 180-day period. Many British who own second homes in Spain or frequently travel to Europe have found this regulation to be quite restrictive, complicating their travel plans and lifestyle.

How the EES will work

The EES is designed to automate and digitize the process of recording travellers’ entry and exit from EU countries. Currently, passports of non-EU citizens are manually stamped at border controls. This is both time-consuming and prone to human error. With the introduction of the EES, this manual process will be replaced by an automated system that electronically logs each entry and exit.

This system will not only save time but also enhance the accuracy of tracking the duration of stays within the EU. It will automatically detect if someone has overstayed the 90-day limit, ensuring strict compliance with EU regulations.

Official calculator to avoid confusion

To help travellers navigate the complexities of the 90-day rule, the EU will provide an official calculator. This tool will allow individuals to accurately calculate how many days they have spent in the EU within a 180-day period, helping to prevent accidental overstays.

Cogesa Expats

Enhanced security and fraud prevention

In addition to simplifying border controls and travel regulations, the EES will also bolster security measures. The system is expected to enhance the detection of fake passports and fraudulent identities.

Exemptions and recommendations for British residents in Spain

It’s important to note that British citizens who are residents in Spain and hold the TIE card are exempt from registering with the EES. The TIE card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) serves as proof of residency and ensures smooth passage through border controls.

However, those still using the older paper certificate or card are strongly advised by the British Embassy to switch to the TIE card as soon as possible. The transition to the TIE card is crucial to avoid potential delays and complications at border controls once the EES is in full operation.

Staying informed

For further details and updates on the EES, British citizens and other travellers are encouraged to visit the official European Union travel website here.

Also read:

British expats are urged to obtain the TIE


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