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Passport to Freedom: Navigating EES with European Golden Visas

The European Union's EES has been postponed, averting the expected turmoil of new border restrictions for non-EU visitors entering the Schengen Area.

The Delay in EES 

The European Union's Entry-Exit System (EES) has been delayed once again, offering a reprieve for non-EU travelers entering the Schengen Area from the anticipated chaos of the new border controls.  

An Opportunity for Golden Visa Seekers 

This delay also presents a window of opportunity for non-EU travellers to obtain European Golden Visas, such as the Malta Permanent Resident Programme and the Portugal Golden Visa, which will allow them to avoid the bureaucracy of the new border once it comes into force. 

The Risks of some Second Caribbean Passports  

However, this delay also highlights the risks associated with a second passport from Caribbean countries. Some countries might have initially overlooked or ignored due diligence measures in the early stages of promoting citizenship through investment programs.  

This development could pose challenges for individuals who have invested significant funds in acquiring a second since they may encounter issues when the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is implemented, as the approval of a visa waiver may not be guaranteed.  

While many countries with citizenship and residency programs have put into place stricter controls, this highlights the importance of choosing countries that uphold thorough due diligence and considering all potential risks before acquiring a second passport. The EU Council has shown a willingness to act when it perceives threats, much as recently when they entirely suspended the visa waiver agreement with Vanuatu. 

What is the EES? 

The EES, set to be implemented by the end of 2023, is an automated registration system for non-EU travellers who do not require a visa to enter the EU.  

Travellers must use a self-service kiosk to scan their passports or other travel documents every time they cross an EU external border. The system will register the traveller’s details and retain them for three years after each trip.  

The EES will apply when entering all EU member states, except for Cyprus and Ireland, together with non-EU countries in the Schengen Area, namely Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland. 

The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) 

The EES is being introduced to strengthen border security and identify travellers who overstay in the Schengen Area (90 days within a 180-day period). It is connected to the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).  

The latter obliges non-EU citizens who do not require an EU visa to gain travel authorisation to enter the bloc. ETIAS is still on target to be operational from November 2023 as planned, with an expected six-month implementation period.  

Why has the EES been delayed? 

The delay in the EES implementation is cited as a challenge with contractors meeting deadlines. The new timeline for implementation is expected to be presented for approval in March 2023. As the EES implementation draws closer, non-EU travellers should consider the opportunities associated with obtaining a European Golden Visa and carefully consider their options for travel authorisation in the EU.