April 27, 2022

All carriers flying passengers into the EU must register for two new passenger entry programs, which go into effect September 2022 and May 2023.

A “carrier” is defined as any natural or legal person, whose profession it is to provide transport of persons, according to Schengen Border Code article 2.15. The entry requirements apply to Part 135 and 125 operations, as well as professional piloted Part 91 operations, but do not apply to individuals who own and pilot their own aircraft into the EU.

Operators are required to query to Entry/Exit System (EES) and European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) to verify details regarding travels arriving to the 26 countries which make up the Schengen Area. Both systems are administered by the operational management of large-scale IT systems in the area of freedom, security and justice (eu-LISA).

Starting in September, the EES – which replaces manual stamping of passports – will electronically capture the entry and exit of visitors who require single or double-entry visas for the prevention of irregular immigration and the management of migration flows. Essentially, the EES will verify passengers haven’t already used the number of entries authorized by their visa.

Beginning in May 2023, the ETIAS will require carriers to verify, prior to boarding, that their visa-exempt passengers have a valid travel authorization to enter the Schengen area. Non-EU nationals who do not need a visa to travel to the Schengen area will have to apply for a travel authorization through the ETIAS system prior to their trip.

“The new programs are still fluid situations, and all parties involved are still trying to understand the complete requirements,” said Michael Ouellette, senior director of global operations at World Fuel Services. Meanwhile, Ouellette recommends carriers follow procedures to register to access the various query systems.

Both the EES and the ETIAS will help identify potential risks and security concerns, including terrorism and serious crimes, as well as epidemic risks, while ensuring compliance with overall visa requirements.

“Operators who travel regularly to Europe should register for these programs as soon as possible. Although the programs do not formally launch until September 2022 and May 2023, lag time to process registrations is expected,” said Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA’s director of flight operations and regulations.