Moldova is not currently part of the Schengen Zone and so its citizens are required to complete an ETIAS application before they can visit the region.
Unlike a Schengen Visa, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) doesn’t have a long-drawn-out application process and it’s open to all passport holders from approximately 60 nations, including Moldova.
If you are reading this guide before the final months of 2022, you probably won’t need to apply for an ETIAS. If you’re reading it in the latter stages of 2022 or later, you almost certainly will.
ETIAS Visa Waiver for Moldovan Citizens
A sure-fire way to ruin a traveler’s excitement is to tell them that they must apply for a visa. Nothing takes the shine off the holiday of a lifetime quite like stacks of paperwork, endless questions, and visits to the embassy.
However, the ETIAS visa waiver doesn’t require any of those things. It is an extra step that must be completed by all prospective Moldovan travelers, but it’s a very quick and painless step and it usually takes just 10 minutes to complete.
To file for an ETIAS visa waiver, you first need to visit the official ETIAS website. Once there, you will find an ETIAS application form. It’s an online form and doesn’t need to be printed out or sent away. You don’t need to scan anything and you won’t be sent confirmation documents by snail mail, either.
The only requirement is that you have a valid email address, as that’s where the authorization confirmation will be sent. You will also need a credit/debit card to pay the €7 fee, but this is waived for travelers aged 18 and under.
The process is 100% automated, with the applicant’s details checked against major international databases. It only becomes a problem if the system finds and flags an issue, in which case a minor review will be triggered. However, such incidents are rare.
What Happens When I Get the ETIAS?
Once approved, your ETIAS will be valid for up to 3 years or for as long as your current passport remains valid. It permits multi-entry access to the Schengen Zone and allows stays of up to 90 days within a timeframe of 180 days.
The ETIAS application is the same for all travelers and it’s also the same authorization for all Schengen member states. In other words, there isn’t one ETIAS for Moldova and another for Serbia. It can also be used to travel throughout the Schengen region, even if that means crossing multiple internal borders, such as going from Germany to France and then to Spain.
Is Moldova in the Schengen Zone?
The short answer is “no”. The long answer is “no, but it might change in the future”.
The Schengen Zone consists of 26 countries, 22 of which are in the European Union (EU) with the other 4 coming from the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which operates parallel with the EU.
But for a few exceptions, all EU countries are required to sign the Schengen Agreement or to abide by the rules within. Ireland is one of the major exceptions to this rule as its close connections with the United Kingdom (no longer part of the EU) complicates its inclusion in the agreement.
Moldova has not joined the EU and is also not a part of the EFTA, so it has yet to sign the Schengen Agreement. However, it borders countries within the EU and so it has close relations with the union. A 2014 resolution also stated that Moldova (along with Georgia and Ukraine) could apply to join the EU.
As a result, it may become part of the European Union (and the Schengen Zone) in the future, but the application and acceptance process is long, and so it won’t happen any time soon.
Where Can Moldovans Visit with an ETIAS?
Moldovans can visit all 26 member states of the Schengen Zone as soon as they have ETIAS approval. These countries include the most popular tourist destinations in the world, including bucket-list cities like Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Milan, Rome, Athens, and Madrid.
There is a world of culture, history, and great food to explore and the ETIAS visa waiver is your ticket to see all of it!
Is the ETIAS the Same as a Schengen Visa?
The ETIAS is a short-stay visa waiver. Unlike a Long-Stay Schengen Visa, it won’t permit you to work in the area.
If you wish to work in another country, you will need to discuss your options with your employer and check with the local laws of your chosen country. A Long-Stay Schengen Visa may be required, but the laws can differ from country to country and there is no guarantee that you will be accepted.
Generally, a Schengen Visa has a much longer and more complicated application process. It requires applicants to submit proof that they are financially stable and have accommodation. It also asks for a fee that can go as high as €80 per applicant. The ETIAS visa waiver doesn’t make such strict demands.
Which Countries Can Moldovans Visit Without a Visa?
A large number of countries require Moldovan citizens to complete a visa application before they are permitted entry. Such is the case for the majority of African and South American nations, as well as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.
The ETIAS visa waiver means that most of Europe is open, though, and Moldovans can also visit Russia, Chile, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Israel, and Malaysia without a visa.