Exact date for new EU Eurostar checks set and how much earlier you need to arrive revealed

20 May 2024, 15:16

Passengers queuing to get on Eurostar trains at St Pancras
Passengers queuing to get on Eurostar trains at St Pancras. Picture: alamy

By StephenRigley

Eurostar travellers will need their fingerprints and picture taken before boarding as part of new EU checks at St Pancras.

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The checks will mean passengers will be required to turn up to the station earlier than usual.

All non-EU passport holders will have to deal with the measures once a new entry-exit system is launched on October 6.

Passengers taking the Eurostar from St Pancras will be expected to arrive at the station at least two hours before departure. Currently travellers are advised to arrive 90 minutes in advance.

Work has begun on 49 entry-exit system kiosks at the London station. Preparing for the requirements has cost Eurostar over £10million, the Times reports.

Non-EU travellers will be sent to terminals for additional checks as part of the plans.

Passengers' fingers and pictures will be recorded on their first visit to the EU from October 6 and their details will be stored for three years.

One of the identifiers will be verified on each visit that follows afterwards.

Passengers need to arrive earlier at St Pancras
Passengers need to arrive earlier at St Pancras. Picture: alamy

Read more: Sadiq Khan calls on ministers to prevent post-Brexit border checks set to cause Eurostar travel chaos

Read More: Food prices 'set to soar again' with new Brexit checks costing businesses thousands every month

Passengers will use kiosks near the main entrance on the ground floor of St Pancras and there will be an overflow area on the mezzanine level.

Business and disabled travellers will have a dedicated area near check-in.

The new checks were due to launch in May 2023 but it was delayed by EU officials due to IT problems.

French ministers also did not want the system, which is expected to cause long delays when launched, to be in place during the Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

A spokeswoman for Eurostar said: “We are working closely with the authorities in the UK and EU member states to prepare for the arrival of EES.

“Our aim is to minimise the impact on our customers to ensure the smoothest possible travel experience and the ­detailed work required to achieve this has been under way for some time.”

The EU describes EES as an “automated IT system for registering non-EU nationals travelling for a short stay each time they cross the external borders of European countries”.

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