Samoan nationals will have to apply for the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) in order to travel to countries in Europe’s Schengen Area. The ETIAS visa waiver will be mandatory for all foreign visitors who are currently visa-exempt, including Samoans. This new system will be implemented in 2021.
Samoa is one of many countries whose citizens enjoy visa exemption for Schengen countries. At the moment, nationals of Samoa can stay in Europe for up to 90 days without having to apply for any visa or permit. Starting in 2021, registering with ETIAS will be an obligatory requirement. ETIAS is not technically a visa, but a travel authorization. The registration process is much simpler than for a consular visa.
ETIAS will improve security throughout the Schengen Area by allowing border control authorities to screen travelers before they arrive in Europe. This will not only make Europe safer for the people who live there, but also for international visitors.
At present, there are 26 countries that will require travelers to present an ETIAS visa waiver upon arrival/border entry.
Samoans traveling to Schengen countries in Europe from 2021:
ETIAS permits Samoan nationals to travel to all 26 Schengen member states from 2021:
- EU Schengen
- Non-EU Schengen States
- Non-Schengen EU States
Micro-States de facto part of Schengen Area:
- San Marino
- Vatican City
Non-Schengen EU States
- United Kingdom
- Republic of Ireland
How Can Samoans Get an ETIAS Authorization?
Samoan citizens traveling to Europe can register online with the European Travel Information and Authorization System by completing an ETIAS application form.
The process of registering with ETIAS from Samoa is quick and straightforward. There is no need to travel to an embassy to apply, as with a traditional consular visa. The registration is done online and can be completed from the comfort of your own home.
The applicant must submit some basic personal information and details about their travel plans. Registration with the ETIAS from Samoa takes around 20 minutes to complete on average.
The data required from Samoan nationals applying for ETIAS includes:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Country/place of birth
- Contact details (current phone number and email address)
- Address of current residence
- Passport number
- Passport date of issue
- Passport date of expiry
The Samoan applicant will also have to answer a few short questions regarding their travel plans for their trip to Europe. These include the following information:
- Intended date of arrival in the Schengen Area
- Intended date of departure from the Schengen Area
- Point of entry to the Schengen Area (the first country they will arrive in)
Once the application is submitted, the data is screened against international databases. As long as the traveler is not found to pose any risk to the security of the Schengen Area, the ETIAS application will be quickly approved.
A document containing the approved ETIAS travel authorization will be sent to the email address the applicant provided. This confirmation should be taken along with the traveler’s passport when traveling to Europe.
How Does the ETIAS for Samoans Improve Security in the Schengen Area?
Samoans applying for ETIAS to visit Europe must submit their personal information and travel plans and also answer some brief security questions in their online application form. This information is checked against the following international databases in order to screen all travelers for security risks:
- The ETIAS watchlist for Europe
The questions related to security that the Samoan applicant must answer involve detailing the following:
- Criminal record (if any)
- Employment status
- Previous travel to regions of the world where there is conflict
- Previous travel to Europe
Having a criminal record would not necessarily mean that the ETIAS applicationwill be denied. However, applicants with a history of serious crime, such as involvement in organized crime, human trafficking, drug smuggling, or involvement in terrorism will likely find their application rejected.
ETIAS means that travelers who pose a risk to the security of the Schengen Area can be identified before they arrive at the European border. In this way, it will reduce international crime, illegal immigration, and terrorism, making Europe a safer place for those who live there and for international travelers visiting Schengen member states.
What Are the ETIAS Requirements for Nationals of Samoa?
In order for registration with the European Travel Information and Authorization System to be successful, citizens of Samoa must fulfil certain ETIAS requirements. Firstly, to complete the application, they must have the following:
- Samoan passport with at least 6 months’ validity
- Payment method
- Current email address
It is essential that the Samoan visitor’s passport be valid for a minimum of 6 months after their intended date of departure from the Schengen Area.
It is also crucial that they travel with the same passport used in the application, since the ETIAS is electronically linked to that document. If the traveler has multiple citizenships, they must take care to remember which passport they applied with and take it with them to Europe.
If the passport used for the ETIAS registration is lost or stolen, the applicant must apply for ETIAS again with their new Samoan passport.
If a traveler arrives in the Schengen Area with a passport that does not match their ETIAS, they may be denied entry to Europe.
When arriving in a Schengen member state, border control checks should be minimal, especially if the entry point has e-Passport gates.
It is advisable to come prepared with these items in the traveler’s hand luggage to show at border control if required.
Do Samoans Require a Visa to Visit Europe?
Samoan citizens do not need a visa to visit the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a period of 6 months, although from 2021 they will have to register with the ETIAS instead. However, not all European countries are members of Schengen.
The majority of European countries outside of the Schengen Zone allow Samoan nationals to enter visa-free, including the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus, Moldova, and Russia.
However, visitors from Samoa require a visa to visit a minority of European countries. These countries include the following:
- Georgia (eVisa)
- Ukraine (eVisa)
For the 26 countries within the Schengen Area, no visa is required for stays of up to 90 days. However, if a Samoan citizen wishes to stay longer than this time they will need to apply for the Schengen visa.
ETIAS only permits Samoan nationals to visit European countries for tourism or business purposes. It also allows them to visit for congresses, events, or even short-term course.
However, it does not permit entry to Europe for work or long-term study. If a foreign national from outside the European Union and Schengen Area intends to work, study, and/or live in a Schengen member state, they must apply for the relevant visa and permits for that country.
ETIAS for Samoans - FAQ
How long does it take to get an ETIAS for Samoan citizens?
The ETIAS registration for Samoan nationals can be completed online. The application form is quick and simple to fill out and it takes the average applicant approximately 10 minutes to enter their data. Once the form is complete with all the required information, it is submitted.
The Samoan applicant’s data will then be screened against various international databases. This process can take 1-3 business days, although the vast majority of applications are approved within 24 hours. In certain cases, if additional information is required, the process may take a little longer.
It is advisable to apply for the ETIAS from Samoa at least 3 days before departing for Europe. This will ensure that there is sufficient processing time in the unlikely event of a delay in the application.
Is the ETIAS for Samoans a visa?
The European Travel Information and Authorization System is not a visa in the traditional sense. The application is not as detailed and is a lot quicker to complete. Unlike a consular visa, there is no need to travel to an embassy or attend an interview.
ETIAS is a visa waiver system. By registering with the ETIAS, Samoan visitors to Europe will not have to apply for a visa for any of the Schengen member countries. They simply need to enter some basic personal details and travel plans into the system for security purposes.
Once they have registered with the ETIAS, Samoan travelers will be able to visit any of the 26 Schengen member states, including France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Greece. They will also be able to travel freely between the countries in the Schengen Area, with no internal border checks.
How long can citizens of Samoa stay in Europe with ETIAS?
Samoans who successfully apply for the European Travel Information and Authorization System are able to visit any of the 26 Schengen states for a limited time. The ETIAS allows Samoan holders multiple entries and remains valid for 3 years from the date of issue.
ETIAS grants travelers from Samoa the right to stay in Europe’s Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days within any 180-day period. Samoan visitors who intend to stay for more than 90 days should apply for the relevant type of Schengen visa, along with any necessary residence or work permits (these vary country to country).
The 90 days permitted with ETIAS do not have to be used consecutively. For example, a Samoan traveler may visit France for 3 weeks, return home, and then visit Finland 2 months later for up to 69 days.
If the 90 days are used consecutively, the traveler must wait a further 90 days before they can visit a Schengen country again with their ETIAS.