As of late-2022, citizens of Micronesia will need to apply for an ETIAS if they wish to visit countries within the Schengen Zone, which includes some of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It’s another step, another hoop to jump through, but the process is very quick and easy and it’s preferable to applying for a Schengen Visa.
ETIAS Visa Waiver for Micronesian Citizens
ETIAS stands for “European Travel Information and Authorization System”. It was proposed several years ago but has taken a number of years to implement, with a planned launch in late-2022.
ETIAS is not a visa program, it’s a visa waiver, which means that it’s offered in lieu of a visa and grants limited access to people from applicant countries, including Micronesia.
You can complete the ETIAS application process online. You will need a credit/debit card, a valid Micronesian passport, and an email address. The form will ask you some basic questions and will then ask for your passport details. Once the form is submitted, your details will be checked against international databases to determine whether you are a security risk or not.
If there are no such issues, authorization will be granted. It is electronic, so you don’t need to print anything or carry any papers around. The authorization will be tied to your passport and will expire when your passport expires, or within 3 years.
How Long is the ETIAS Valid for?
ETIAS authorization is valid for 3 years (unless your passport expires before that time) and can be used to visit any Schengen country for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
A single ETIAS visa waiver will grant you access to all Schengen countries and will allow you to move freely throughout the region.
For instance, you can visit France for 30 days, Italy for 30 days, and Greece for 30 days. At that point, you will need to leave the Schengen Zone and wait for another 90 days to pass, after which you can return and the 90-day limit will reset.
Which Countries Can Micronesians Visit Without a Visa?
According to the Henley Passport Index, the Micronesian passport is not a valuable one. It offers visa-free or visa-exempt access to over 100 countries, but that’s actually quite a small number when compared to other passports. In fact, it has a total ranking of 49 as of 2021, which is roughly in the middle of the list.
Its ranking is helped by its inclusion in the ETIAS program, which means that Micronesian passport holders can visit all countries within the Schengen Zone as part of the aforementioned visa waiver program.
Micronesian citizens are also free to visit the United Kingdom and all of its crown dependencies. More importantly, they can visit the United States without a visa, putting them in a very small group of international travelers.
There are a few rules, though. For instance, they need to be citizens of Micronesia by birth or be naturalized children or spouses who have resided there for at least five years.
That’s the good news; the bad news is that Micronesian citizens need a visa to access New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Brazil, China, Russia, and most countries in Africa.