What is the change? Under proposed changes to the Schengen entry/exit system, passport checks at the region’s external borders would eventually be eliminated as the system becomes fully automated.

What does the change mean? Instead of needing a visa stamp, travelers would be required to undergo automated screening at kiosks, e-gates and other electronic systems at the border or within the Schengen territory or during the visa application stage.

  • Implementation time frame: The changes are likely to take several years to implement.
  • Visas/permits affected: Schengen (C type) visas.
  • Who is affected: Non-EU nationals visiting the Schengen region.
  • Impact on processing times: The automated system would ease processing and eliminate passport stamping by border guards.
  • Business impact: Automated gates would speed immigration processing for frequent business travelers.

Background: The automated system is one of several changes to the visa regime of the Schengen area that were proposed last month. According to EU-LISA, the agency responsible for implementing the future border system, passport stamping will eventually be replaced by automated services, but border officials will continue to oversee the automated procedures and it will be up to individual Schengen member countries to decide where and how many kiosks are to be installed.

BAL Analysis: The expansion of automated border controls and the other Schengen visa-liberalization proposals will facilitate travel, but may take years to be approved and implemented by the EU.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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