Currently, Tonga residents can travel anywhere in Europe with a visa-exemption that comes with the Schengen agreement. Visitors coming to the region can enter any member state with only a valid passport. However, once the European Commission implements the ETIAS travel authorization system next year, all travelers wishing to enter the region, including the Tongan, will require an ETIAS waiver upon arrival.
DO TONGAN VISITORS HAVE TO APPLY FOR ETIAS VISA TO VISIT ALL COUNTRIES IN EUROPE?
The ETIAS travel authorization requirement varies with each country in Europe. All the European nations that are part of the Schengen agreement will require an ETIAS visa waiver from 2022 onwards. The ETIAS will allow the Tongan visitors to enter the 26 Schengen member states.
The 22 European union member states including,
- Italy Hungary
- Czech Republic
And also, these four non-EU member states,
The visitors do not require ETIAS to visit these Non-Schengen European states.
However, the ETIAS visa waiver will become obligatory for every visitor who wants to travel to Europe after 2022. The European Commission will implement this travel authorization system to combat terrorism and other security issues threatening Europe’s harmony. The ETIAS system aims to strengthen the Schengen borders and its safety by prescreening all visitors coming to the region before entering and denying access to any individuals who seem doubtful. All visitor profiles will be verified through automated checks across various European security records such as SIS, VIS, Europol, Interpol, and EURODAC. After it comes into effect, the ETIAS will benefit not only all international travelers by providing them a safe travel experience but also the residents living in the Schengen region. The ETIAS Application process for Tongan visitors The ETIAS visa waiver will require the Tongan residents to fill out a simple online application form to obtain an approved travel authorization. Since the complete procedure is accessible through the internet, the applicants do not need to physically visit an embassy for a manual application. This is one way how the ETIAS differs from the standard visa application process. The ETIAS application takes no longer than ten minutes to complete, and the majority of the applications receive a reply within 24 hours. Although people of all ages need the waiver to access Europe, the parents or guardians of children below the age of 18 can apply on their behalf with all the relevant information. Additionally, once the applicants submit the application, they will need to make a minimal ETIAS visa processing fee with their debit or cred card. The online application requires the following details from the Tongan visitors,
- The full name of the applicant.
- Date of birth.
- Country of residence.
- Nationality (of the passport used for the application), mandatory for dual nationality holders.
- All passport details; issue date and expiry.
The applicant may also need to provide additional details such as,
- Employment history
- Travel history
- Health issues
All applicants must ensure that the entered information is correct and coincides with their original documents. When answering the criminal record query, individuals must do so with all honesty, as a criminal history does not warrant an ETIAS visa denial. The officials scan all applications and only deny entry to those applicants who do not comply with the travel authorization policy, i.e., if they have committed proven convictions such as human trafficking, drug abuse, illegal immigration, or terrorism. The Tongan applicants associated with minor crimes will be granted ETIAS without any issue. The ETIAS visa processing updates and the authorized visa waiver will be sent to each applicant’s email address. In the case of visa denial, the applicants will receive the reason for refusal and the further process to appeal the decision or apply for a European visa at the embassy.
VISITING EUROPE FROM TONGA ON AN ETIAS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION
Once the Tongan residents arrive at the border checkpoint, they will need to verify their details, including their ETIAS linked passports. The e-passport machine will screen each passport to verify the visitor’s details across various European security records. After completing this process, the results will assist the immigration officials in determining whether to grant or deny entry to the Tongan visitor. Only visitors with a valid ETIAS visa waiver will be able to enter the Schengen region after 2022; individuals with no ETIAS or an invalid travel authorization cannot obtain this access. The border officials will then hand over a Schengen border code to ETIAS visa holders, which will allow them to travel and stay throughout the Schengen region. At this Entry-Exit point, the officials will also be able to identify the Tongan visitors who have overstayed their visit, who will then face harsh consequences such as heavy penalties, deportation, and even revocation of the ETIAS visa waiver.
What are the requirements for Tongan visitors to enter Europe?
The ETIAS application is easy and hassle-free for Tongan citizens. They can apply for the visa waiting sitting at their home and do not need to stand in long lines for a manual visa application, like the European visa. Though at the moment, there is no visa policy for Tongan visitors coming to Europe to file for a visa to travel, the ETIAS will make it a mandatory requirement after 2022. The online application will require all the relevant documents that the visitor will need for travel verification along with the ETIAS visa waiver. The applicants can download the online application on any smartphone, laptop, or tablet device with an accessible internet connection. All the Tongan applicants must have the following necessary documents at hand to apply successfully for the ETIAS.
- A valid Tongan passport that has almost a 3-month validity beyond the estimated days of the trip.
- A valid email ID without spelling errors as the applicants will receive the visa processing updates and later the ETIAS approval on the provided address.
- A payment card, either debit or credit. After submission, the applicants have to pay a 7-EURO ETIAS processing fee. However, applicants older than 70 years and minors under 18 years do not have to pay the charge.
The Tongan residents must ensure the validity of all the above-listed documents to ensure a successful ETIAS application. Additionally, applicants must note that filling out the online form with all honesty is crucial to an approved visa waiver. After the launch of the European travel authorization and information system or ETIAS next year, all Tongan residents will have to apply for the waiver for travelling to Europe regardless of age, including 70+ and under 18. For kids, the parents are advised to apply for the travel authorization on their behalf as they cannot enter the region without it. However, minors are exempted from the ETIAS visa processing fee.
HOW LONG DOES THE ETIAS VALIDITY, PROCESSING TIME AND PERMITTED STAY DURATION LAST?
The European travel authorization system has an automated screening system that will prescreen all profiles before officials can grant them access to the region. The ETIAS will run their details against multiple security systems such as Europol, Interpol, and other European security databases and check past records and criminal history. The processing happens quickly, and most applicants receive a response within 24 hours. However, if there are some discrepancies in the applicant’s details, the officials will send it for further verification, further delaying the visa process. Keeping this in mind, all applicants must apply for the ETIAS visa waiver at least 72 hours in advance of their flight to allow enough processing time. The ETIAS has a three-year validity, so the travellers can visit Europe until the validity of ETIAS remains and the linked passport stays valid. However, if the passport is lost or expires before the ETIAS, the travel authorization will automatically become null and void. The Tongan resident will need to apply for a fresh ETIAS visa waiver with another passport number in such a situation.
Do the ETIAS travel authorization obligate minors to apply for the visa waiver to enter Europe?
The ETIAS travel authorization will become mandatory for all travelers coming to the Schengen region, regardless of age. Besides, it goes without saying that parents and guardians must apply on behalf of their children who are below 18 years old. They can gather their documents and apply for the ETIAS visa but provide their own email address and other contact details to receive processing updates and obtain the approved visa. Complete name of the applicant. Nationality. Birth date and place. Passport details, such as issue and expiry and, most importantly, the passport number. Preferred first country for arrival. Planned arrival in the Schengen member state.
How many days can the Tongan visitors stay in Europe with the ETIAS?
The Tongan ETISA holders can travel and stay in the Schengen area for no longer than 90 days within a 180-day span. All travellers explicitly coming to the region must note that the ETIAS allows only short-term visits to Europe. They must immediately exit the area once the permitted stay duration runs out, as failing to do so may result in penalties and other consequences. Besides, the European travel authorization only serves the purpose of travel related to medical treatments, short business trips, tourism, or stopping over during transit. The Tongan visitors who intend to stay for an extended trip can do so with a European visa, fulfilling this purpose. However, travelers must note that not all European countries are members of the Schengen agreement. Therefore, they can spend only 90-days in the Schengen region and then spend three months in any non-European country to gain access to the EU again. The Tonga visitors can visit the destination country’s consulate to apply for the relevant travel-related visa. Immigration agents will better guide them regarding a suitable visa for their travel intent.
Is it obligatory for the Tongan visitors to have an ETIAS visa to travel through the Schengen borders?
The transport carriers will verify each passenger’s ETIAS prior to boarding. Hence, all Tongan residents must carry a print or copy of the travel authorization in order to board their flight. Even travelers who are transiting through the Schengen borders will need an ETIAS visa to present at their stop-over in any Schengen state.