EU Soon to No Longer Stamp Passports of Third-Country Nationals Entering Schengen

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The EU is making major changes to their travel policy. Starting in 2021, third-country nationals who enter the Schengen Area will no longer have to have their passports stamped upon entry. This move could make travelling within the Schengen Area much easier, faster, and more efficient. In this article, we’ll explore what this new policy means for travellers and how it will affect them.

Introduction: What is the Schengen Area?

Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European countries that have abolished passport and all other types of border controls 

All of the Schengen countries are in the European Union (EU), but not all EU countries are part of the Schengen Area. Ireland and  the Schengen Agreement, while Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are not yet part of the area but are legally obliged to join once they meet the required criteria.

As of 2019, third-country nationals – i.e. citizens of countries outside of the EU or EEA – need a short-stay visa . This visa allows them to move freely within the Schengen countries during their stay. However, since 2016, third-country nationals who do not require a visa to enter the Schengen Area – i.e. those who hold a valid passport from one of the 60+ so-called ‘visa waiver’ countries – have been subject to fingerprinting and photography upon arrival in Europe as part of the EU’s security measures against terrorism and illegal immigration. 

Current Requirements for Entering the Schengen Area

As of 2021, third-country nationals who wish to enter the Schengen Area for business, pleasure, or any other reason must have a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the planned length of their stay. They must also have a Schengen visa, if required, as well as sufficient funds for their stay and a return ticket.

In addition, third-country nationals must not pose a threat to public order or national security, and must not be listed in the Schengen Information System (SIS) as being subject to an alert for refusal of entry or stay. Finally, they must undergo a security check at the border.

Alternatives to Passport Stamping

There are a few different ways that the Schengen countries could go about this. One way would be to do away with passport stamps altogether. This would mean that when you enter the Schengen area, your passport wouldn’t be stamped. Instead, your entry would be registered electronically. This is already done in some cases, such as when you use an e-Gate to enter the Schengen area.

Another alternative would be to keep passport stamps, but have them placed on a separate sheet of paper that would be attached to your passport. This way, your passport itself wouldn’t be damaged or filled up with stamps.

Whatever the future of passport stamps in the Schengen area may be, it’s clear that they’re on their way out. So if you’re looking to avoid getting your passport stamped, you may want to consider one of these alternatives.

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