Will the ETIAS be required for travel to European Union Microstates?
- Posted on 19 Jan, 2022
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The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is anticipated to launch in late 2022.
This system pre-authorizes travellers from 61 countries for visa-free entry into the Schengen Area of Europe.
The ETIAS is a developed by the European Commission with the intention of creating a system to vastly improve the security of EU member states within the Schengen region by collecting data on travelers that are currently allowed to visit the region without a visa.
But what about ETIAS to travel to Europe’s microstates? Read on to learn more about the updated requirements for travel to the European microstates.
ETIAS - European Travel Information and Authorization System
The ETIAS visa waiver serves two primary purposes: to conduct a background check on foreign nationals planning to entering the borders, for both security and to stem illegal migration, and to monitor external border entry and exit. These measures will ensure tighter border control and are eagerly anticipated to reduce time travellers spend navigating the border crossing processes.
Once the programme launches, nationals from 61 visa waiver countries will be required to present either an ETIAS waiver OR a traditional visa. What you need will depend on your intended length of stay and travel purpose. In general, though, travel of up to 90-days during any 180-day period for will only require the ETIAS travel waiver.
The application process will be entirely online, and you must have a valid passport and an email address to apply. Payment online will be by bank card, credit card or debit card. Once approved, the document will be digitally tied to your valid passport. Since the authorization is digital all one needs to submit at the border is the passport, which will be scanned by border control agents. Though we suggest saving a copy of the electronic approval for peace of mind.
Who needs the ETIAS for travelling to the EU?
Nationals from 61 countries will be required to apply for and ETIAS visa for short-term leisure and business travel to Europe for up to 90 days during any 180-day period. Prior to the launch of the travel waiver programme, citizens from the countries listed below* could travel to the Schengen Area with simply a passport.
What is eligible travel with the ETIAS waiver?
Qualifying travel purposes include tourism, short-term business reasons such as a conference or client meeting, short-term education such as an internship, and medical procedures.
Will ETIAS be mandatory for travel to Europe?
Going forward, beginning in late 2022 (or early 2023), short-term travellers will need to apply for the waiver in advance to travel to the region, but the authorization shall be valid for three years, or until the associated passport expires— whichever occurs first. And the visa waiver may be used for multiple trips as along as they do not exceed 90 days total during any 180-day period. Longer stays will require a Schengen Visa.
Who needs the ETIAS visa waiver to visit Europe and the Schengen Zone?
*Citizens and nationals of the following countries will need to submit an ETIAS application:
Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Georgia, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macao, Macedonia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Samoa, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela
States, Countries and Microstates in Europe: What is a microstate?
Broadly stated, a microstate is an independent region that usually has a small area and small population. Historically, Europe has many microstates among kingdoms and feudal regions. Although the definition of a microstate leaves room for interpretation, there are six microstates in Europe:
- San Marino
- Vatican City
There are different governing and legal agreements with other countries that have resulted in free movement from these microstates to neighboring countries. Malta is a full member of the European Union, so EU travel rules apply. Andorra, Monaco, and San Marino are part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and use the Euro as currency. Vatican City shares an open border with Italy, so any travel documents required to enter Italy will apply for travel to Vatican City. Although Lichtenstein is not part of the EU, it is part of the Schengen Area and shares the same open border policy, so Schengen travel rules will apply.
Will travelers for San Marino and Vatican City or other microstates require the ETIAS?
Yes, but indirectly. These microstates do not have international airports, so any traveller will have to cross an external border through a country that does require ETIAS. For example, San Marino’s borders are completely surrounded by Italy, so any documentation required to enter Italy (or any other Schengen country) will by default be required and accepted to enter the microstate.
ETIAS validity, applying for the ETIAS Waiver and avoiding errors on the form
The ETIAS authorization, once approved, will be valid for three years. However, if your passport expires during those three years, you will need to re-apply for ETIAS authorization. As we noted earlier, it may be used for multiple trips totaling up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
The application process will be simple but may seem a little daunting for those used to travelling with only a valid passport as require authorization. The application will be managed entirely online and can be completed on a desktop or mobile device. One will need a valid email address, asked to supply biographical and contact information. Each applicant will also need a valid passport and credit or debit card for application fee payment.
These applications are processed electronically and compared against information in several European security databases. If there are any errors in the application or any inconsistencies in the application, it could be result in delays or a rejection.
It is okay to get assistance filling out the application, and it is easier and less expensive to complete the application correctly the first time. If your application is rejected, you can correct any errors and re-apply, but you will have to pay the application fee again. Our website will have application processing and support available as soon as the form is online in latter 2022.
Travel to the Schengen Area will have a bit of a new face when the ETIAS launches. To stay up-to-date on ETIAS news, sigh up for our ETIAS travel newsletter now.
Other helpful articles about the ETIAS, Eligibility and European Travel