The European Travel Information Authorization System has been designed by the European Union with the purpose of registering visa-exempt travelers visiting the Schengen Zone. This ETIAS process will include pre-screening of Hong Kongese as well as all other eligible international travelers in order to better protect the Schengen Area international borders.
At the moment, Hongkongers are granted entry into any and all of the countries that comprise the Schengen Zone without being required to visit an embassy or consulate in order to obtain a visa.
This visa-free entry for Hong Kong citizens grants them short-entry stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. It is for that reason that travelers from Hong Kong are allowed to visit one or more Schengen Area countries as long as they do not surpass the allotted time.
However, the visa-exempt status that Hong Kong people now enjoy will involve an additional step prior to traveling to the European Union as soon as the European Travel Information Authorization System is fully operational. As of 2021 citizens of Hong Kong who wish to visit Europe will be required to register online for an ETIAS visa waiver in order to enter the Schengen Zone.
Citizens of Hong Kong who wish to travel to Europe
As of now, citizens of Hong Kong can still travel to the Schengen Zone without a visa. They are granted entry into the Schengen Area countries for tourism and business purposes and permitted to remain in the region for a period of up to 90 days.
As off 2021, Hong Kongese traveling to EU Schengen member countries will be obliged to apply online to obtain their ETIAS visa waiver. This will be a mandatory requirement for citizens of third member countries that currently can travel to Europe without a visa.
As soon as the ETIAS is fully implemented, it will allow Hongkongese travelers to visit the following 22 European countries that are part of the Schengen Area:
The ETIAS Application for Hong Kongese
The citizens of Hong Kong can easily fill out the ETIAS application form online from their smartphone, tablet or personal computer. The ETIAS requirements include a valid Hongkongese (HKSAR) passport, a debit or credit card to pay for the fee and a current email address where the approved ETIAS will be delivered via secure.
When completing an ETIAS online application from Hong Kong, any citizen of Hong Kong will be asked to provide: passport details, along with their full name, date of birth, and address. Information about the employer and travel plans will be also requested when enrolling in the European Travel Information Authorization System.
As an ETIAS applicant and a citizen of Hong Kong, it is necessary to respond a series of security questions. It is strongly recommended that those who wish to travel to the Schengen Zone answer all questions with integrity.
Furthermore, Hongkongese applicants must carefully check all the information they fill out within the ETIAS application form prior to submitting their request in order to ensure that it has no errors or inconsistencies. Any mistakes in the data submitted during the application may result in a longer waiting time for the applicant, or in some cases, even in the denial of the citizen’s ETIAS request.
The ETIAS travel authorization for Europe will be a mandatory travel requirement for Hong Kong citizens as well as other eligible travelers, starting 2021. It is advised that travelers begin the ETIAS online application process at least 72 hours before departure.
Visit Europe from Hong Kong with the ETIAS Visa Waiver
When an ETIAS application is approved, the ETIAS travel authorization will be valid for 3 consecutive years with unlimited short-term stay entries. The approved ETIAS visa waiver allows citizens of Hong Kong to enter any country in the Schengen Zone and spend up to 90 days within the Schengen borders.
The ETIAS visa waiver is an electronic document that is digitally linked with the exact passport the Hong Kong traveler has used during the travel authorization application process. It is for this reason that visitors are reminded they need to travel with the exact passport used to apply, since ETIAS cannot be transferred.
Hong Kong people with dual citizenship also need to be mindful of traveling on the passport associated to ETIAS and not their second passport. This is because it is not currently possible to transfer an approved ETIAS from one passport to another.
In the event that the citizen’s Hong Kong passport is near its expiration date, it is advisable to apply for a new passport prior to applying for the ETIAS visa waiver for Europe. In order to apply for ETIAS, the HKSAR passport must have a remaining validity of at least 3 months beyond the intended date of arrival. The new ETIAS European visa waiver is mandatory for all citizens of Hong Kong that plan to travel to Europe, minors included.
ETIAS Application Data for Citizens of Hong Kong
During the Europe visa waiver online application process, Hong Kong registrants will be required to complete the form with their personal information. They will need to fill out their:
- Full name and surname
- Date of birth
- Country of birth
- Current address
- A telephone number where they can be reached
For security and immigration purposes, the applicant will also be required to answer a brief series of questions regarding their employment status as well as any criminal record details. They will need to respond to questions on the following matters:
- Educational background
- Current employment status
- Criminal record held in Hong Kong
- Convictions related to human trafficking
- Prior travel to conflict areas
- History of prior overstayed visas or being deported from a country in the past
This approval process will allow European immigration officials to prescreen travelers before they even board their flight en route to any of the Schengen area member countries. Traveler data will be verified across numerous informational and criminal databases including, but not limited to:
- EUROPOL DATA
- SLTD (INTERPOL)
- TDAWN (INTERPOL)
These procedures will check to see whether applicants requesting an ETIAS visa waiver have any records of misdemeanors or other unlawful activity on the Europe-wide databases. This verification process fulfills the purpose of ensuring that terrorism and criminal activity can be effectively prevented throughout the Schengen free travel area.
How long can Hong Kong passport holders stay in Schengen Area?
At the moment, Hong Kong nationals are allowed to visit the Schengen Area visa free and stay within its borders for up to 90 days. When the ETIAS is fully operational, Hong Kong citizens will still be granted visa-free entry into the European Union so long as they enroll in the ETIAS.
An approved ETIAS will grant its holders 90 days within a 180-day period during which Hong Kong nationals will be allowed to travel within the countries that comprise the Schengen Area.
What happens if a Hong Kongese ETIAS holder stays in Europe longer than 90 days?
ETIAS holders from all eligible countries, including Hong Kong, are granted 90 days within a 180-day period that they may spend in any and all of the Schengen Area countries. This means that both the 90-day period, and the 180-day period begin on the day that the Hong Kong traveler first enters the Schengen Zone.
Once the 90 days are over, a Hong Kongese visitor must exit the Schengen Area towards a country they are allowed to visit, until the 180-day period is over. Failure to do so, that is, surpassing the allotted 90-day stay may result in fines, or deportation.
Can Hong Kong (HKSAR) passport holders stay in Europe longer than 90 days?
Yes. Hong Kong citizens who wish to stay in the Schengen Area countries for longer than the 90 days they are allowed to spend in the zone visa-free are required to apply for a visa.
There are different types of European visas available to Hong Kongers who wish to spend more than 90 days within a 180-day period in the Schengen Area. The type of visa a Hong Kong citizen requires will depend on the purpose of their travels to Europe as well as the intended length of their stay.
In order to determine which kind of Europe visa a Hong Kong citizen needs in order to surpass the allotted 90 days, they are advised to visit the nearest consulate or embassy corresponding to the country they intend to live in.
Consulate or embassy personnel will be able to assess citizens in regard to the specific requirements they will have to complete as well as the documents they will have to present in order to apply for the visa that meets their needs.