If you live in Kiribati and have your sights set on European travel, you will need to learn about the ETIAS.
The European Travel Information and Authorization System, to give it its full name, will come into effect at the end of 2022. It applies to residents of 60 countries and means they will need to complete an online application and receive authorization before they can visit the Schengen Zone.
Kiribati is one of those countries, and in this guide, we’ll tell you all that you need to know about the ETIAS as a Kiribati passport holder.
ETIAS Visa Waiver for Kiribati Citizens
France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria—these are just a few of the countries that you can visit with an ETIAS from late 2022 and onward. There are 26 Schengen member states—more are being added all of the time—and all of these countries operate under the same border laws, effectively banishing all internal borders.
It means that if you are allowed to visit Greece or Italy, you will be allowed to visit the other 24 member states as well. It is also why there is only one ETIAS application. Regardless of where you are traveling or how long you intend to stay, you will complete the same application form.
Following the completion of this form, authorization should be granted within 72 hours. That authorization is tied to your passport and will remain valid for 3 years, granting you access to the Schengen Zone for up to 90 consecutive days.
Is ETIAS a Schengen Visa?
The ETIAS is a visa waiver, not a visa. It does not work in the same way and will not allow you to work or study full-time in the Schengen Zone. You can still technically study for up to 90 days, and the ETIAS is a great way to get a feel for multiple countries and their education systems, but it’s not a long-term solution.
Do Kiribati Citizens Need an ETIAS Visa Waiver for Europe?
The ETIAS doesn’t apply to all of Europe. It’s a common misconception, and it stems from the confusion regarding unions/agreements like the European Economic Area, the European Union, the Schengen Zone, and the continent of Europe.
European nations choose their own laws and make their own rules. If they choose to join the European Union, they are subject to the rules of that union, but they are not automatically added to the Schengen Zone. What’s more, many European countries have been refused access to the European Union or simply haven’t applied to join.
Don’t assume that your intended destination is within the Schengen Zone or will allow you easy access. Do your research, check these things in advance, and if you plan on crossing borders and visiting multiple countries, make sure you know where you stand with regard to visa and visa waiver programs.
Which Countries Can Kiribati Citizens Visit Without a Visa?
Citizens of Kiribati aren’t afforded much freedom when it comes to international travel. In fact, the Henley Passport Index ranks the Kiribati passport as the 48th best in the world, which sounds quite reasonable until you realize that there are often multiple countries in each tier.
Kiribati passport holders need to apply for a visa if they wish to visit the United States, Australia, China, and Russia. The United Kingdom opens its doors for up to 6 months at a time, and the ETIAS also gives Kiribati citizens access to some of the biggest destinations in Europe.
Elsewhere, however, there are many restrictions.