Currently, the Trinidad and Tobago residents have a visa exemption for European travel, which means that they can travel anywhere in the Schengen region without applying for a visa for every member state. The visa-free trip comes under the Schengen pact, allowing visitors to move inside the zone without passing through border checks. However, all visitors must note that this exemption is temporary and will change after the European travel authorization and information system launch in 2022. The ETIAS will enable visa holders to move and stay in the Schengen member states for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. It will become mandatory for all travellers, including the Trinidad and Tobago visitors, to apply for an ETIAS before coming to Europe next year onwards.
The requirements for travelling to Europe for Trinidad and Tobago visitors
The European Commission aims to launch the ETIAS by the end of 2022. Until then, the residents of Trinidad and Tobago can travel throughout Europe without a visa. They can visit for stays lasting three months with the intent of business travel, transit, or tourism. However, after the implementation of the ETIAS, these short-term trips will only be possible only with a visa waiver. The ETIAS application process is entirely online, and applicants can access it with a Wi-Fi connection on any mobile, laptop, or tablet device. The Schengen region consists of 26 member countries, out of which 22 are also European Union members while four do not belong to the EU. However, if a country is a Schengen member, it implies that they have signed the Schengen agreement, and visitors can access the region visa-free. The European Commission developed the ETIAS system in 2016, and it will finally launch next year. The travel authorization was designed, keeping in mind the security issues surrounding the European countries. This will also help strengthen the Schengen borders and safeguard international tourism and inhibit illegal immigrants' from entering the area by prescreening all travellers coming to the region for transit, business, or leisure. After the implementation of this travel authorization, the Trinidad and Tobago visitors will be able to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver easily through an online application form. The approved ETIAS will electronically link to each applicant's original passport. The ETIAS is a multi-entry visa that implies that visa holders will enter Europe and travel within the Schengen region multiple times until the validity of the visa or until the associated passport expires, whichever happens first. However, it permits short-term trips that cannot exceed the 90-day limit within a 180-day period. After which, visitors are expected to exit the area and stay outside for 90-days before they can revisit Europe. The ETIAS has a three-year-long validity due to which visitors do not need to reapply for a new visa waiver for every trip unless the travel authorization has expired.
The ETIAS application requirements for Trinidad and Tobago visitors
All Trinidad and Tobago residents must have the following necessary documents to apply successfully to the ETIAS.
- A valid Trinidad and Tobago 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.
It is vital that the residents of Trinidad and Tobago ensure the validity of all the above-listed documents for a successful ETIAS application. Also, the ETIAS application has to be completed with all honesty to obtain an approved visa waiver. The ETIAS travel authorization will become available next year, after which all visitors coming to Europe, including all Trinidad and Tobago residents, will have to apply for the waiver for travelling to Europe. Applicants of all ages, including 70+ and under 18, need a personal ETIAS visa waiver to enter Europe. However, the parents and guardians with minors in their family can apply for the ETIAS on their behalf with relevant documents. However, kids below 18 years do not need to pay the ETIAS visa processing fee. Since the European travel authorization and information system is an online application, it will require the Trinidad and Tobago residents to fill out a simple online application form to obtain an approved travel authorization. All applicants can access the application at their convenience anywhere through the availability of an internet connection. This makes the entire process hassle-free, killing the applicants' need to visit an embassy for a manual application physically. The European visa, however, needs a manual application and is intended for other intent of travel. The online application requires the following details from the 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.
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 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 Trinidad and Tobago resident will need to apply for a fresh ETIAS visa waiver with another passport number in such a situation.
ETIAS Application for Trinidad and Tobago residents
The ETIAS application is easy and hassle-free for Trinidad and Tobago 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 Trinidad and Tobago 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 and the ETIAS visa waiver. The applicants can download the online application on any smartphone, laptop, or tablet device with an accessible internet connection. The online application is quick and takes less than ten minutes to complete, with most applicants. Once the Trinidad and Tobago visitors submit the form, the ETIAS application asks for a minimal pay of 7-euros as a one-time visa processing fee. This can be paid with a valid debit or credit card. The ETIAS will prescreen all application across automated security databases such as Europol, EURODAC, Interpol, SIS, and VIS to identify risky individuals that can threaten EU harmony with their entry. The applicant may also need to provide additional details such as,
- Employment history
- Travel history
- Criminal history (if any)
- Health issues
Applicants with minor criminal offences should not have any issues obtaining the ETIAS visa waiver as the travel authorization does not prohibit minor criminals from entering the country. However, individuals who have a history related to human trafficking, drug abuse, illegal immigration or terrorism will not be granted access. Still, it is advised that all applicants mention their criminal history with all honesty. If the officials find out discrepancies in documents or through the European security databases, they will immediately be deported and have their ETIAS revoked.
TRAVELLING FROM TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO TO EUROPE WITH AN ETIAS
The ETIAS application processing is quick, and most application will process within 24 hours. However, some applications may take longer, around three days, if they raise concerns and are sent for further verification. Hence, all Trinidadian applicants must apply at least 72 hours before their flight departure. This will cater to processing delays and ensure they receive the authorized ETIAS in time. Once approved, each applicant's will receive an email notification and the authorized ETIAS attached along, which will be electronically linked with their passport. Though it is not a mandatory requirement, as a precautionary measure, Trinidad visitors can keep a copy of the ETIAS to take care of unforeseen situations or issues with the e-passport machines when they arrive in the Schengen zone.
ETIAS FOR TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – FAQ
Is it possible for Trinidad and Tobago residents to visit Europe without an ETIAS?
Presently, all the visitors coming to Europe, including the Trinidad and Tobago residents, can enter the area without the need for a visa for the purpose of business, tourism or transit. However, this benefit will end for all travellers soon as the European Commission plans to launch the ETIAS by the end of next year, which will make it compulsory for all travellers to apply for the European travel authorization from 2022 onwards if they wish to enter the Schengen region. The ETIAS, however, will serve the same travel purpose and duration of stay but will be required to gain access to the Schengen region. The ETIAS visa holders can stay anywhere in the Schengen region for 90-days at a time during a 180-day span and allow Trinidad and Tobago visitors multiple entries into Europe. Travellers do not need to apply for a visa for every trip to the EU.
Can the Trinidad and Tobago ETIAS holders work in Europe?
The European travel authorization and information system will allow the visa holders to access the Schengen area for trade, leisure, medical treatments, and transition between one EU country and another. However, it cannot permit the Trinidad and Tobago visitors to stay for employment purposes since the ETIAS is not a visa but access to Europe for a short trip. It is illegal to work in Europe while travelling on an ETIAS, and if a visitor is found working in the Schengen region during the short trip, they may face severe consequences. The Trinidad and Tobago travellers who want to work in the Schengen region can do so with a European visa, which they can apply to at the member state's embassy.
Does ETIAS allow Trinidad and Tobago visa holders to pursue Education in Europe?
The ETIAS does not allow Trinidad and Tobago visitors to pursue education in any Schengen member state, as this goes against the visa policy. Any visitors found doing so will become liable to consequences such as penalties, revocation of ETIAS and even deportation However, it is possible to study in Europe legally with an appropriate travel-related visa. The visitors who wish to study in any European institution can do so by applying for a Schengen visa at the country's member state where they want to study.