After the end of 2022, Colombian citizens traveling to Europe, and specifically the Schengen Area, are required to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver. Unlike a traditional visa, it doesn’t allow for an extended stay and there are strict rules concerning work and study. On the flip side, the application process is quick and easy, and it only requires a valid passport and some basic traveler information.
The ETIAS Visa Waiver Program
The ETIAS waiver program applies to all countries within the Schengen Area and is a necessary process for all Colombians visiting this region. Countries within the Schengen Zone essentially operate under the same border control laws and ETIAS is the system that allows visa-exempt travelers to visit these countries.
What are the Requirements for Colombian Citizens?
To apply for an ETIAS visa waiver you need a valid Colombian passport and will also be asked to submit some basic contact details.
You can complete an online application form via the official website and once you have been given travel authorization, it will be valid for up to 3 years, or until your passport expires.
The process is mostly automated, and your information will be checked against several international databases to determine whether you are a risk or not.
If you have any serious crimes on your record or there have been any previous issues with your travel documents, you may face some problems with your ETIAS application. If not, it should be straightforward, and you will receive travel authorization confirmation by email.
Who Needs an ETIAS?
All Colombian citizens need an ETIAS visa waiver before they can travel to Schengen countries. It’s not just for Colombians, either, as the program targets travelers from 60+ other nations, including those in South America and North America.
Is it Just for One Country?
When you complete the ETIAS application, it will ask you about the first country that you intend to visit. However, the visa waiver is not limited to that country and it can be used to access all other nations within the Schengen Zone.
For example, you can travel to Spain in the first instance and then hop on a train to France, before seeing some of Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Czech Republic.
One of the great things about visiting mainland Europe is that you’re always a short train journey away from seeing other countries and cultures and as long as you don’t spend more than 90 days in the region (within a 180-day period), you won’t be in breach of the agreement.
What’s the Difference Between the Schengen Area and the European Union?
There are 26 member states in the Schengen Area, including 22 members of the European Union and all four members of the European Economic Area. The European Union and the Schengen Area are not interchangeable and while most countries are in both, there are some notable exceptions.
For instance, Ireland is part of the European Union but not the Schengen Area, which means your ETIAS won’t apply there. The UK is a member of neither while Norway is part of the Schengen Zone but not the European Union.
Can Colombians Travel to Italy and Spain?
Italy and Spain seem to be popular destinations for Colombian travelers and as they are part of the Schengen Agreement, the ETIAS applies to both of them.
As soon as you complete the online application process and receive your travel authorization, you will be able to visit both Italy and Spain. You can even move between them, although as they don’t share a land border, that’s not as easy as it sounds.