European authorities plan to implement the Electronic Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) visa waiver program in 2022. It will be available to citizens of Colombia as well as to visitors from around 60 other nations around the world.
The ETIAS visa waiver for Colombians will be an entry requirement for the Schengen Area — a region of Europe made up of 26 countries, including 22 European Union (EU) countries and the 4 European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states.
Colombians will need to register with ETIAS to visit some of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world, such as France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Greece, and Iceland.
Will Colombian citizens need a visa for Europe?
Colombian nationals currently do not need a visa to visit the European Schengen countries. This visa exemption will continue to apply going forward.
Starting in 2022, Colombians will need to register with ETIAS to continue to take advantage of their visa exemption for entry to Europe.
ETIAS is not a visa; it is an electronic travel permit that allows European authorities to screen passengers before their arrival. This is intended to improve the border integrity and security of the 26 country bloc as a whole.
Registering with ETIAS is a far quicker and more convenient process than applying for a visa. The simple application form can be accessed online from any location with an internet connection.
This means that Colombian travellers can register from the comfort of their own homes, without having to make the journey to an embassy or consulate, as with a visa.
Are Colombian citizens eligible to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver?
Colombians are among the citizens of the 60 countries that are eligible to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver.
Once registered with ETIAS, Colombian nationals will gain visa-free entry to all 26 countries that make up the Schengen Area.
The ETIAS visa waiver grants passengers from Colombia multiple entries and allows them to stay for up to 90 days within a given 180-day period. Tourists may enter Europe as many times as they want as long as they do not spend more than 90 days in the Schengen Zone within the 180-day time frame.
This means that travellers will not need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver every time they leave Europe and decide to visit again.
Obtaining the visa waiver will be a much simpler process compared to obtaining a visa in order to travel to the region.
Are there any pre-requisites to filling out the online application?
Colombian citizens interested in applying for an ETIAS visa waiver will need to meet certain pre-requisites before beginning the application process. These include having the following items:
- Colombian passport with a validity of at least 3 months from the date of arrival in Europe
- Current email address
- Debit/credit card associated with a bank account that can be used for making online payments
It is worth noting that Colombian travellers may need to renew their passports if they are concerned about not being able to meet the required validity for the ETIAS visa waiver application.
How to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver from Colombia
Colombian nationals can apply for the ETIAS visa waiver by simply filling out an online application form with their personal passport and travel details such as:
- Basic information (name, date of birth, gender, country of citizenship, etc.)
- Contact details
- Passport number, date of issuance, and date of expiration
- Intended port of entry and an outline of travel plans for Europe
Visitors from Colombia may also need to answer pertinent questions about their health and security. They may also be required to provide additional information to support the basic information they provide on the application form.
It is imperative that Colombian registrants fill out the ETIAS visa waiver application form with accurate details. Incorrect, misleading, or false information can have negative consequences for the applicant’s travel plans. In fact, such information will be grounds for the European authorities to delay or even deny them entry authorization for Europe.
Colombian citizens will have a chance to revise the information they have entered on the form before submitting it for review. They will also have to pay a processing fee to complete the application process.
When can Colombian travellers get their ETIAS visa waiver?
The information provided on the ETIAS visa waiver application is checked against international security databases and the decision to grant the Colombian applicant a visa waiver is based off the results of these checks.
Generally, the processing of the ETIAS visa waiver application will only take a few minutes. However, it can take longer in some cases where the Colombian national is asked to submit additional information regarding their application.
Once the visa waiver has been approved, holders from Colombia are able to receive their waiver via email. It is then up to the traveller to print out a copy of the visa waiver to take with them for when they arrive in Europe. They will be required to present it to European Border officials along with the rest of their travel documents in order to be granted entry into the region.
In the event the Colombian applicant is not granted a visa waiver, they will receive an email explaining why they did not receive one and the process by which they may appeal the decision reached on their application.
Colombian citizens can make an appeal against the country they had initially applied to enter from. As the appeals process moves along, the issue will be decided in accordance with the laws of that particular country.