Integral Details to Know Before the ETIAS Visa Waiver Program Launches

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Many people wishing to travel to Europe don’t have to stress about applying for a visa. The European Commission introduced the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), a visa waiver program that will guarantee many perks. The ETIAS will work as a security tool to strengthen external borders and make controls convenient and faster for all visitors.

The ETIAS visa waiver will be a legal requirement to travel to the Schengen Area, Romania, Bulgaria, and Cyprus. The ETIAS will be valid for three years, guarantee increased security, be easy to apply, and promise free movement to authorized countries. However, ETIAS criminal record is one of the crucial issues that have dominated the debate about the efficiency of the visa waiver program.  

It has been a major concern whether an individual can travel with a criminal record. The good news? This article will provide vital information on what you need to visit European countries if you’ve past convictions. Continue reading.

Applying for ETIAS with a Criminal Record- An Overview

Europe is one of the flourishing continents and receives millions of visitors annually. The most comprehensive answer to whether you can still visit Europe with a criminal record is a “YES.” European countries have more relaxed travel rules concerning entry to a country of choice compared to the USA and Canada. 

Conviction checks are uncommon, but most EU external borders employ security measures such as applying for the ETIAS visa waiver program. Each European country has its set travel rules and regulations that travelers should always abide by. Germany, for instance, has stricter rules than any other member of the Schengen Area. 

Most countries don’t conduct criminal background checks on travelers from visa waiver program-exempt countries. This is if they are traveling as a tourist, for business purposes, or for medical assistance. Incredible factors that help determine whether you can visit Europe if you have a criminal record include:

  • The nature of your past criminal convictions
  • The severity of the sentence
  • The set regulations of the country of destination in Europe. 

Your ETIAS visa waiver may be declined depending on the cruelty of your past crimes. Notable criminal offenses include:

  1. Rape 
  2. Murder 
  3. Terrorism 
  4. Sexual predation or exploitation of children
  5. Human being trafficking 
  6. Trafficking of drugs

For travelers visiting the Schengen Area, you’ll be allowed entry if your criminal record features minor offenses. But then again, you shouldn’t lie about your past convictions, as such actions serve as the ground for ETIAS visa waiver rejection. It’s best to inquire at the embassy in the European country you want to visit. 

Requirements for ETIAS with a Criminal Record

Applicants who meet the ETIAS requirements shouldn’t stress if they have past minor convictions in their records. They can still get visa waivers online to travel to their dream destination. Essential requirements to abide by include the following:

  • Valid biometric passport issued by ETIAS visa waiver eligible country
  • Contact email address/mobile number
  • Method of payment 
  • No serious criminal convictions

Summing Up 

Are you eager to visit Europe? Probably yes, and planning to apply for a visa. The good news is that you’re eligible for an ETIAS visa waiver. You must not have committed serious crimes to apply for the visa waiver, and your criminal record only shows minor offenses. The ETIAS visa waiver will launch in 2024, and it’s a requirement you should meet if traveling to Europe. So feel free to stay up-to-date with the latest information on the program and enjoy a smooth travel experience. 

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