Planning a 2021 Euro trip? You’ll need an ETIAS visa for that
Beginning in 2021, Trinidad and Tobago nationals will be required to apply for an ETIAS visa to enter participating European countries for short term travel.
This basically means that if you intend to visit certain European countries on a short term basis (90 days and under) for general tourism, business, transit or medical purposes, you’ll be required to complete an electronic ETIAS application four days prior to your departure. This includes transiting en route to other destinations.
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) was first introduced by the European Union in 2016 and was implemented to improve the security of EU member states within the Schengen region by capturing data on travellers that currently visit the area without a visa.
As the process is completely online, you can expect their ETIAS application to normally be processed and approved within minutes, and the authorisation will be sent by email. You won’t need to print or present any documents at the airport since the ETIAS is stored electronically against the passport details stored in the European Immigration system.
An approved ETIAS is valid for three years and can be used for multiple entries as well as transit to other countries in Europe under a 90-day duration. Those who were denied an ETIAS can still apply for a full visitor visa.
An ETIAS does not guarantee entry to Europe as the final decision is made by the border security personnel of the European country of arrival.
The ETIAS countries that will require travellers to have an EU travel authorisation will be those that are currently EU Schengen States including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
So, what’s the difference between an ETIAS and Schengen Visa?
ETIAS is an electronic travel authorisation that is for travellers who currently can travel to Europe without a visa. The Schengen Visa, on the other hand, is required for travellers are unable to travel to EU countries without a visa.
Additionally, those that plan to enter Europe for over 90 days, or for other purposes than those allowed under the ETIAS programme will need to apply for a Schengen visa.
Unlike ETIAS which allows travel throughout Europe, a Schengen Visa is specific to the country applied for and not necessarily valid for other Schengen countries. In the case of a visitor wishing to visit two or more Schengen countries, it is necessary to apply for a visa at the embassy of the country in which most time will be spent.
For more information on ETIAS guidelines and applications for Trinbagonian citizens, visit their website.