Nationals of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will need to apply for and obtain a visa waiver to visit countries in Europe’s Schengen Area starting from 2021. This new waiver is called the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).
Saint Vincentian citizens are currently part of the visa-exempt program, meaning that they do not need a visa to visit Schengen countries. However, with the introduction of the ETIAS visa waiver, this will change. ETIAS will be compulsory for travelers from all countries that currently enjoy visa-free travel, including Saint Vincentians.
ETIAS is being introduced to improve security, reduce illegal immigration, and protect the Schengen Area against threats. It will grant access to all 26 states in the Schengen Area (22 European Union (EU) nations and 4 non-EU countries).
The 26 countries within the Schengen Area will all require that visitors from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines obtain the ETIAS before traveling to any of the member states. It is important to note that the Schengen Area does not include every country in Europe or even every country in the European Union. European countries outside the Schengen Area will not require the Vincentian traveler to adquire an ETIAS in order to visit them.
ETIAS permits Saint Vincentians 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
What Do Travelers from Saint Vincent ans the Grenadines Need to go to Europe?
At present, Vincentian visitors do not require a visa to visit the Schengen Zone in Europe. The only requirement is a passport, which must remain valid for at least 3 months after their trip.
This arrangement applies to all Schengen countries, including: 22 of the 28 European Union countries, including France, Spain, Germany, and Italy 4 European countries outside the EU: Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland
Saint Vincentian citizens are able to travel freely between the countries in this area due to the Schengen Area’s policy of no internal border controls. A valid passport is required to enter and leave the Schengen Area.
In 2021, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will be implemented. This will be obligatory for any Vincentian traveling to a Schengen state, including children and infants. The traveler must obtain the ETIAS before boarding an aircraft or ship bound for the Schengen Area.
Travelers from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines can complete the ETIAS application form online in order to register with the European Travel Information and Authorization System. A parent or legal guardian can complete the form on behalf of children who will be traveling to Europe.
Traveling to Europe with ETIAS from Saint Vincentians
The first thing a Saint Vincentian traveling to Europe must do is check the visa policy of the European country or countries they intend to visit. If the traveler is only going to visit destinations within the Schengen Area, they can do so without a visa until 2021, after which they will need to apply for and obtain the ETIAS visa waiver beforehand.
By registering with the ETIAS, they submit information about themselves and their travel plans, which can be checked by European border authorities before they arrive. Travelers are screened against international databases and watchlists, including the following:
- The ETIAS watchlist
Individuals who appear on such watchlists, have a history of involvement in serious crime or terrorism, or have previously committed infractions in Europe may have their ETIAS refused.
This improves security for the Schengen Area, its residents, and everybody traveling there, as it allows authorities to block potential threats from entering before they set off. It will also mean that there should be fewer border checks and a quicker process of entering Europe when arriving in the Schengen Zone.
The ETIAS for Europe is not a visa; it is an authorization that will be mandatory for nationals of many countries, including Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Travelers must obtain the ETIAS before they embark on their journey to Europe, as it is needed to board a plane or ship bound for the Schengen Area.
Vincentian travelers heading to European countries that are not members of the Schengen Area should check the entry requirements of the relevant state and ensure that they have the correct documentation to enter.
Upon arrival in Europe, visitors from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines may be asked for evidence of their intention to return within the permitted 90 days of their stay. Such evidence could include:
- A return plane ticket to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Evidence of onward travel
- Proof of sufficient funds for the stay in Europe
- Proof of health insurance for the stay in Europe
How to Apply for ETIAS for Saint Vincentians from 2021
Saint Vincentians visiting European countries in the Schengen Area will need to apply online to register for an ETIAS starting in 2021. The application will require them to enter the following details:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Contact information (phone number, email)
- Current address
- Passport number, date of issue, and date of expiry
They will also have to provide some information about their travel plans, such as the first Schengen country they will arrive in and the intended dates of arrival and departure in Europe.
There are some security-related questions, in which the applicant will be asked about the following:
- If he/she has a criminal record
- Employment history
- Previous visits to Europe (if applicable)
- Previous visits to locations where there is conflict (if applicable)
All questions must be answered accurately and honestly, as false information could result in the application being delayed or rejected.
In order to complete the application, the traveler must have the following ETIAS requirements to hand:
- A passport that will be valid for a minimum of 3 months after the traveler’s intended stay
- A credit or debit card to pay the fee
- An email address to which the ETIAS approval document can be sent
ETIAS for Saint Vincentians - FAQ
How long can Saint Vincentian and the Grenadines nationals stay in Europe with ETIAS?
Saint Vincentians can currently visit European countries in the Schengen Area without a visa for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. These 90 days do not have to be consecutive.
The same will be true after the introduction of the ETIAS visa waiver, which will be valid for 3 years or until the traveler’s passport expires. However, visitors from eligible countries, like Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, will only be able to stay in the Schengen Area with the ETIAS for 90 days at most within any period of 180 days. Travelers from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines who wish to stay longer than 90 days will have to apply for a Schengen visa.
Can citizens of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines work in Europe with ETIAS?
The ETIAS allows visitors, including Saint Vincentian citizens to enter the Schengen Area for the following purposes:
- Medical purposes
It does not legally allow visitors to work in any of the Schengen countries. Each member state has its own policy on foreign nationals moving there to work and may require the Vincentian citizen to apply for a work visa, a work permit, or both.
The ETIAS will allow Vincentian citizens to visit countries within the Schengen Area and see which European countries best suit them, but they will be unable to start work without the relevant work visa or work permit. Attempting to work in a Schengen member state with only an ETIAS could result in the ETIAS being revoked and the traveler receiving a ban on returning.
Which European countries require Saint Vincentians to have an ETIAS?
All European countries in the Schengen Area will require nationals of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to have an ETIAS from 2021. The Schengen Area includes the majority of European Union (EU) countries, along with 4 other European countries.
22 of the 28 EU countries form part of the Schengen Area and will require Saint Vincentians to have an ETIAS.