The ETIAS or the European travel authorization and information system will become mandatory for all visitors, including the Samoan residents coming to the Schengen area after 2022. Currently, the Samoan visitors can enjoy the benefits associated with the Schengen agreement, which allows them to visit Europe for 90-days without any visa. However, this visa exemption will end once the ETIAS travel authorization comes into effect next year when Samoan visitors will need the visa waiver in order to enter Europe and travel throughout the Schengen region. The ETIAS visa waiver will enable the Samoan visitors to travel for short-term trips and stay for up to 3 months with the intent of tourism, business, or stopover in the area. Nonetheless, all visa holders must note that the ETIAS is not a visa and cannot authorize other related travels. Instead, it is a travel authorization that allows access to Europe for a limited period. The European Commission aims to secure Europe with the launch of this travel authorization. The ETIAS will enhance border security and strengthen the bond between all the 22 Schengen member states and benefit the visitors and the European residents alike. After 2022, the Samoan visitors will need an ETIAS visa waiver to be able to gain access to 26 EU countries.
APPLYING FOR AN EITAS FROM SAMOA
The Samoan visitors can gain access to Europe only with a European travel authorization after 2022. The visa waiver can be obtained online by entering details into the ETIAS application form, which takes only ten minutes to complete. The entire process is hassle-free and straightforward, and applicants do not need to physically visit the embassy for a manual application like a European visa. Also, the application can be downloaded anywhere with an internet connection on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. The online application requires the following details from the Vincentian visitors,
- The complete name.
- Date of birth.
- Nationality (of the passport used for the application), mandatory for dual nationality holders.
- Passport date of issuance and expiry date.
The applicant may also need to provide additional details such as,
- Employment history
- Travel history
- Health issues
Besides, it should be ensured that the information provided coincides with details mentioned in the other documents. Only the applications that are found to be genuine will pass screening quickly and receive their approved ETIAS in 1 business day. If officials find inconsistencies in any application, their profile will be sent for manual verification and result in processing delays. Also, applicants must recheck the email addresses for any spelling errors because they will receive the authorized ETIAS through the same email id.
ETIAS Security checks for Samoan visitors
The Samoan visitors who want to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver will have to provide information regarding health, security, travel history, and future travel plans. Each application will pass an automated screening which will verify their profile against several European databases such as Interpol, EURODAC, VIS, SIS, and Europol. The applicants must also honestly mention criminal records (if any). However, if any Samoan visitor has a criminal history, it does not mean that they cannot obtain an ETIAS. The only individuals to be denied the travel authorization benefit are ones involved in serious crimes such as human trafficking, drug abuse, and terrorism. The travel authorization system aims to identify these individuals who threaten the EU harmony and block their entry into the region. The ETIAS will secure the Schengen borders for international travelers and European residents alike.
WHAT DO SAMOAN RESIDENTS NEED FOR AN ETIAS APPLICATION?
For a successful application of the ETIAS, the Samoan residents must fulfill the approved visa waiver criteria. To complete the ETIAS application with all relevant details, they must have the following,
- The residents must have an original passport with at least a 6-month validity.
- A valid debit or credit card with which they can make the payment for the processing fee.
- They need an email address where they can receive the authorized ETIAS.
The applicant's passport must have a six-month validity remaining from the intended stay duration. Besides, they must also carry the same passport that they used to apply for the ETIAS application as the visa waiver electronically links with each passport number. The Samoan visitors with dual nationalities must choose the one they want to apply for the travel authorization and then remember to bring it along with their Europe travel. In case of a lost or stolen passport, the visa waiver will become void, and the applicants have to reapply for another ETIAS after obtaining a new passport. If the Samoan visitor's passport does not match the ETIAS, they will not be allowed to enter Europe.
DO SAMOAN RESIDENTS NEED A VISA TO TRAVEL TO EUROPEAN COUNTRIES?
Presently, Samoa residents can travel throughout Europe with a visa exemption, allowing them to stay in the Schengen area for three months. However, they need an ETIAS visa waiver from 2022 to do the same. The European visitors must note that the Schengen region does not include all of Europe, which means that not all European countries are Schengen members. However, many non-member states like Moldova, Ireland, and Ireland allow visa-free entry to visitors. Yet, to visit some small states such as Georgia, Albania, Serbia, Ukraine, Turkey, Belarus, and Macedonia require a visit visa. The 26 Schengen member countries do not need ETIAS visa holders to reapply for a permit to transit between the states, and visitors can spend up to 90 days in the area. Also, all visitors in the region must exit the area once the stay duration expires. They can travel elsewhere and rejoin Europe after spending at least three months outside the Schengen zone. The Samoan visitors who wish to stay longer may apply for a Schengen visa. The European travel authorization or ETIAS only allows for short-term stays to Samoan visitors who can visit the Schengen region for business, travel, or transiting to another state through its borders. However, once the three-month stay period expires, the ETIAS policy asks visitors to leave the area immediately without traveling through any member state. Since the visa waiver is a short-term permit that accounts for no more than 90-days in Europe (at one time), it does not allow visitors to indulge in long-term activities such as studies or work. Suppose the Samoan visitor wants to stay for extended periods in the Schengen region. In that case, they may do so through a legal process that involves applying for a long-term European visa for their intended stay. They can visit the embassy and find out laws regarding employment or pursuing education and then apply for the visa.
ETIAS FOR SAMOA – FAQ
How long does it take for the ETIAS visa to process for the Samoan?
The ETIAS visa application is a hassle-free process for Samoan visitors. The European Commission designed the online application with the ease of the applicants in mind. Since the system is completely online, the applicants can access the simple online form anywhere with just connecting to an Internet connection on any mobile device, computer, or tablet. The entire process takes a maximum of 10 minutes and removes the applicants' need to visit the consulate for a manual visa application. Unlike the European visa, the ETIAS visa application also saves time and hassle for the applicant and does not require physically visiting an embassy for the visa application. Once entered, the system will automatically screen each applicant against multiple security systems such as Europol, Interpol, and other European security databases. Although most applications are processed within 24 hours, if some applications do not match the applicant's details, the officials will send it for further verification, delaying the visa processing. To cater to such delays, all applicants must apply for the ETIAS visa waiver at least 72 hours in advance of their flight to allow enough processing time.
Is the ETIAS a travel visa for Europe?
The ETIAS differs from the European visa as it is used for a distinct purpose. All Samoan visitors can access Europe with the European travel authorization and can stay in the Schengen region for 90 days within a six-month period. The ETIAS only allows visits for tourism, business, and transit. On the other hand, the European visa serves a long-term travel purpose. It will enable the Samoan visitors coming to the Schengen region for extended stays with the intent of employment, educational purposes, or immigration. The ETIAS can be obtained through an online application. The visa holders can access the 26 Schengen member states during the three-year validity period without any internal border checks or the need to reapply for the ETIAS for every trip to Europe.
How many days can the Samoan residents spend in Europe with the ETIAS?
The approved ETIAS visa waiver will allow the Samoan visitors to visit any of the 26 Schengen states for a short-term trip. Although the ETIAS enables multiple Europe entries within its three-year validity, all visitors must leave the region after completing 90-days in the member states during each trip. They must spend at least three months outside the Schengen area in order to access it again. For this purpose, they can either fly back to their home country or transit to any other non-European country without traveling through the member states. The Samoan visitor who wishes to stay for extended periods in the Schengen region must apply for a travel appropriate European visa which will cater to purposes such as immigration, education, and employment.