How Will ETIAS Affect European Microstates?

etias microstates europe

With the implementation of the new ETIAS visa waiver scheme towards the end of 2022, foreign nationals and citizens of the European microstates may be concerned about how the regulations will affect their travels.

Do Andorran, Monaguesque, ‎Sammarinese, and Vanticanien passport holders need an ETIAS to travel to the rest of Europe?

Do foreign citizens need an ETIAS to visit the European Microstates?

Read our quick travel guide to get clear answers to these questions and have all the information you need to travel to and from Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.

Which European microstates are exempt from ETIAS?

The European microstates are small sovereign states, usually with a very small population and/or land area.

Passport holders from the microstates listed below will not need an ETIAS to enter the Schengen Area, despite not being part of the European Union or Schengen Agreement:

  • Andorra
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • Vatican City

Not only will they continue to enjoy free travel, but these microstates will also benefit from the increased security of the ETIAS screening system.

From the end of 2022, citizens of all other current visa-exempt countries must apply for the ETIAS visa waiver to travel to Schengen Area countries. By more closely monitoring movement in and out of the Schengen nations, it is hoped that countries will be safer for everyone.

Why are these microstates exempt from ETIAS?

Due to having a low population and few natural resources, these microstates have obtained special relations with the European Union.

Monaco, Andorra, and San Marino are participants in customs unions with the EU whilst all 4 use the euro as currency.

Moreover, San Marino, Vatican City, and Monaco are all part of the Schengen Area de facto and therefore Schengen visa policy applies.

In the case of Andorra, it is likely that practical considerations were key in the decision not to require citizens of these European microstates to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver.

Many nationals of Andorra cross the border into Spain or France on a daily basis to study or work.

This is also an important consideration for the citizens of Vatican City who travel to other areas of Italy frequently.

Members of these states will maintain full freedom of movement to the Schengen Area countries even after the implementation of the ETIAS visa waiver system at the end of 2022.

Do foreign nationals require an ETIAS to enter the microstates?

San Marino, Vatican City, and Monaco are all de facto part of the Schengen Area as they have open borders with neighbouring countries:

  • San Marino has an open border with Italy. Access is only possible through Italy meaning Schengen visa policies apply de facto. ETIAS required.
  • Monaco has an open border with France and Schengen visa policy applies de facto. ETIAS required.
  • Vatican City has an open border with Italy. Access is only possible through Italy meaning Schengen visa policies apply de facto. ETIAS required.

Although Andorra poses no visa requirements on visitors, it is landlocked and does not have fixed-wing airports. Access to Andorra is only possible by going through Schengen countries Spain or France. ETIAS required.

How to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver to visit a microstate

From the end of 2022, citizens from current visa-exempt countries will be required to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver in order to enter Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City via a Schengen Area country.

Third-country nationals should apply for an ETIAS for the arrival country before travelling onwards to the microstate.

How to visit Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City

Common routes for the European microstates are as follows:

  • Andorra: fly into Barcelona El Prat Airport or Girona Airport requiring ETIAS for Spain
  • Monaco: fly into Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport requiring ETIAS for France
  • San Marino: fly into Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport or Marche Airport requiring ETIAS for Italy
  • Vatican City: fly into Bastia – Corsica Airport requiring ETIAS for Italy.

The ETIAS application is quick and easy, requiring just a few personal and passport details. Most visa waiver requests are processed within 24 hours, although some may take up to 3 business days. Once approved, the visa waiver is sent via email to be presented at the border on arrival.