ETIAS is a game-changer for the Schengen Zone. It stands for “European Travel Information and Authorization System” and is a visa-waiver program that grants access to residents from around 60 countries following a simple application process.
Samoa is one of those countries and if you’re a Samoan passport holder traveling to countries within the Schengen Area after late-2022—including Italy, Greece, France, Austria, Spain, and Germany—you must apply for an ETIAS.
ETIAS Visa Waiver for Samoa Citizens
The ETIAS visa-waiver program comes into effect from late-2022 onward. As soon as it is active, all Samoan passport holders must apply before they can visit the Schengen Zone.
The application is entirely electronic and takes just 10 minutes to complete. You should be approved within 72 hours and will be sent a confirmation via email. If there are any issues during the application process, a manual review may be triggered and this can slow the process down, but such issues are rare.
The ETIAS process was created to prevent serious criminals and at-risk individuals from entering the Schengen Zone. It checks all applicants against international databases to determine if they are a risk and denies access if so.
Where Can Samoans Visit with an ETIAS?
The Schengen Zone spans some of the most popular destinations in the world, and as there are no internal borders to worry about, you can travel freely throughout these regions once you have your authorization.
The Schengen Zone is constantly growing as more nations enter the EU and sign the agreement, but it currently includes the following 16 countries:
- Czech Republic
Ideas for Using your ETIAS
Samoa is a huge rugby nation and the Samoan national team is one of the best in the world. The Samoan national team will make an appearance at the 2023 Rugby Union World Cup, which takes place from early September to late October in France.
It’s a good time to book a vacation, as it’s just outside of the summer break and plane tickets and hotels get much cheaper during this period. What’s more, while the Rugby World Cup is expected to be a huge occasion, it’s not on par with the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics and so it doesn’t usually lead to a sharp and unreasonable increase in plane tickets and accommodation.
Many Samoan passport holders will be flocking to France to see their national team in action (along with South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland, England, Australia, and 14 other great rugby nations) and you can join them with an ETIAS!
The ETIAS is valid for up to 90 days, which is more than enough time to keep you in France throughout the tournament.
France is the most-visited country in the world and if you’re following the Rugby World Cup, you’ll get to see every inch of this great country from Stade Pierre-Mauroy (Lille) in the north to Allianz Riviera (Nice) in the south.
Which Countries Can Samoans Visit Without a Visa?
The Henley Passport Index ranks the Samoan passport as 42nd overall, with holders granted visa-free access to around 130 countries and territories. The ETIAS plays a major role in that ranking, as the list includes all Schengen countries. But there are many others on the list as well, including Canada, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom.
However, a visa is required for access to the United States, Australia, China, and New Zealand, as well as many countries in Africa.