New EU Passenger Screening Requirements Demystified




It has been a lengthy process trying to get answers on this. What is a ‘carrier’? Are you a carrier? Are you a carrier that is carrying people in a way that they mean when they say carrier for the purposes of registering as a carrier for ETIAS?

Well, we think we finally have the answers and we’re posting them at the top of this article here. But if you want the full history and thought process leading to this then you can scroll down and read the rest of the (older) post too.

Update 30 June 2022

Phase 1 of the EU-LISA program (the EES bit) will likely be postponed from going live in Nov 2022 to Spring 2023. Phase 2 (the ETIAS bit) will only go live 5-6 months afterwards. There’s been no official announcement on this yet, but that was the message in the EU-LISA carrier working group call on June 29.

Update 16 June 2022

The EU-LISA program will be postponed from going live in September to November. There’s no info yet on why, but hopefully the delay will give them time to publish clear guidance on exactly which Private operators need to comply with the EES/ETIAS requirements (more on that below!)

Update 13 June 2022

Any form of commercial flight needs to comply with EES and ETIAS requirements. So that includes scheduled, non-scheduled, charter, Part 135, flying unicorns for hire… anything where there is any profit being made or where there is any business purpose to the flight.

These are two very important stipulations! We’ll say them again in bullet form so they stand out:

  • Where any profit is being made.
  • Where there is any business purpose to the flight.

Nowhere on the EU-LISA site does it actually say this. But that’s what they have told us in their latest email reply (June 13), and they say they will be updating the FAQ section soon to reflect this.

So, if an aircraft is flown for non-commercial purposes then it can be exempt in the following circumstances:

  • The owner of the aircraft is the pilot and any passengers are friends/family
  • The owner of the aircraft is a passenger on the flight, or has made the aircraft available to friends/family at no cost to them. It can be flown by a professional crew, but the aircraft is not managed by an external company and there is no business purpose to the trip at all.

A private aircraft is not considered exempt if:

  • It is managed by a management company whose business is aircraft management.
  • There is any business purpose to the flight – including attending a single business meeting during the trip.

All the background stuff if you want it.

From Sep 2022, operators bringing passengers to most countries in Europe will need to be registered with the EU’s new Entry/Exit System for passenger screening. This new system will function much the same as the ESTA system does in the US.

Here are the key dates:

  • From Sep 2022: Operators will need to verify electronically whether a third country national travelling to the Schengen Area has already used the number of entries authorised by their visa.
  • From May 2023: Operators will have to verify the status of travel documents required for entering the Schengen Area, including the need to hold a ETIAS travel authorisation prior to boarding.

Everybody loves acronyms…

Of course they do. Before we get into the specifics of what you need to do as an operator, here’s a breakdown of what everything means:

EU-LISA: They are “the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice”. EU-LISA is definitely easier to say. What they do and why we should know about them is a little more complicated. In short, they are the ‘Schengen Area information engine’, which means they are basically the folk managing the customs information for anyone travelling in and out of the Schengen Area.

ETIAS: You might have already come across ETIAS – it is the EU’s version of a visa waiver, similar to the US ESTA program. We like this explanation, but you can also read about it on the official site here. If you come from one of 60 or so countries that are currently covered by the ETIAS system then you can use it for your visa waivering.

EES: Whilst ETIAS is the visa waiver side of things, EES is more the monitoring and information storing side of it all. It is expected to come into effect alongside ETIAS, and is an additional security measure whose “chief purpose is to improve border control and prevent cross-border criminal or terrorist activity.” Basically, it is turning manual passport stamping and visa checking into a digital process instead.

Schengen isn’t EU?

Figured we’d throw in a quick explanation of this too for good measure.

The Schengen Area, in case you don’t know, comprises of 26 member states, and is not quite the same as the EU both in terms of purpose and members. There are countries which are in Europe but not in the EU (23 at last count), and there are non-EU countries which make up part of the Schengen thing – Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein to be precise.

The big difference between the EU and Schengen though is that the EU is an economic, political thing whereas the main purpose of Schengen is simply supporting ‘free movement’ of Schengen people. This is all down to an “agreement” between the members where they have effectively abolished their internal borders. In other words, folk don’t need to show a passport when travelling between.

Great, so what do operators need to do?

Well, if you’re not from one of those Schengen spots but you do want to visit them, then you need to know about ETIAS. If you are a “carrier” of passengers into the Schengen Area then you will definitely need to know about EES. All this goes live September 2022.

The “helpful” infographic…

So ETIAS is for travellers and EES is for…?

In short – ETIAS is do with passengers and their visa stuff, EES is the Entry/Exit system.

In slightly longer – Carriers will have to verify, prior to boarding, that their visa-exempt passengers have the correct travel authorisation (the ETIAS stuff), and will have to verify if a third-country national travelling to the EU on a short-stay, single or double entry visa has already used the number of entries authorised on their visa.

In slightly easier English – 48 hours before a carrier flies someone into the EU, you need to check on the EES system whether their visa stuff is all ok.

The Registration

We can’t help you with that, but here are some links.

Anything else?

Just a heads-up that the regulations are very lengthy and irritating to read, but there are some important bits in there about who on your staff you authorise to access the ‘Carrier Interface’ (presumably because of the secret nature of people’s passport info), and if you don’t update your own carrier details (or use it) for a year then they’ll kick you off it.

If you have insider info on all this, have used it and have feedback on the process, or if we’ve got anything wrong in our explanation please let us know at

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  • Matt Woodruff says:

    From EBAA:

    However, if the aircraft is owned by a private individual or organization, the crew is hired directly by the aircraft owner, and flights are not open for public use or charter, the operation will not be required to use the new systems.

  • Chris Yoder says:

    Can anyone comment on “not managed by an external company”? Our corporate structure is organized in a way that the owner has a dry-lease in place for personal travel. The pilots and maintenance work for a third-party whose only job is to provide pilot and maintenance services to the registered owner and dry lessee.

    Similarly, what if you own an aircraft and use full-time contractors to crew or maintain your aircraft?

  • Enrique Hernandez says:

    Well my department falls into the not need to comply with this new mandate and we already registered and paid the fees.

    Now What?

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