EU passport-stamping to end in May 2023


Since publication of this post, the roll-out of EES has been postponed (again) until the end of 2023 at least. A new launch timeline is set to be decided in March.

The European Union’s new Entry/Exit System (EES) is set to go live this May. EES is an automated IT system for registering non-EU nationals travelling for a short stay (or transit), each time they cross the external borders of the EU.

All travellers who require a short-stay visa, and those who do not, will be affected. The biggest change will be that passports are no longer stamped physically, but will instead be recorded on the system electronically. The purpose of EES is to make the border control process more efficient, automating day-counting (to prevent overstaying) and recording refusals of entry. Travellers will be verified biometrically by camera and fingerprint scanner.

Even though the introduction of EES has been long trailed during the past five years, there remains uncertainty even now about how its introduction this spring will affect non-EU seafarers.

At airports, immigration officers will supervise the self-scanning of passports, fingerprints and faces at new terminals. At ports, however, holders of biometric passports are currently not required to present physically at ports upon dis/embarkation, which may change under EES.

As licensed ‘consignatarios’, ESTELA has so far received no information from immigration and port authorities about any changes being introduced. However, we don’t expect EES at ports to be an autonomous system, where seafarers will be using self-service terminals only. Documents such as Seaman’s Books and boat papers will still need to be verified manually.

We have started to receive queries about EES, and ETIAS (the EU’s new visa waiver programme) that is expected to come into effect from November.

At this time, there is no clarity about the impact, if any, of either of these new processes on yacht crew, but if you have any queries you’d like answered, please send them to and we will put them to the authorities.

An exact launch date for EES has not yet been announced. Complex transnational systems tend to experience delays, though we will update you here once we receive more information.

In the meantime, you can find out more about EES here: