Do Singapore Citizens Need a Visa for Europe?
In 2021, the European Commission will begin requiring citizens from Singapore to apply for a visa waiver. The European Travel Information and Authority System (ETIAS) will be similar to other visa waiver systems around the world in that travelers will not be required to physically visit an embassy or consulate. Instead, the entire application process will be completed online.
The ETIAS will allow citizens from over 60 countries to visit the Schengen Area of Europe visa free for a duration of 90 days within a period of 180 days. That means that ETIAS holders will be required to leave the Schengen Area before their 90 days are up, and will not be allowed to re-enter the zone until an additional 90 days have passed.
However, during that period of 180 days, should a Singapore passport holder have spent fewer than 90 days inside the Schengen Area, they will not be required to re-apply for a new ETIAS should they wish to re-enter Europe.
The online application was designed to be as simple as possible and authorities anticipate that it will take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Once completed, the response time will vary from a few minutes to a few days (or even longer in some cases). Therefore, it is imperative that Singapore nationals apply for their ETIAS with enough time to guarantee its delivery before their departure.
ETIAS Requirements for Singapore Citizens
Singapore passport holders are eligible to apply for the ETIAS waiver for travel to the Schengen Area. Below applicants can find a list of requirements that each traveler must have before they apply for the ETIAS waiver:
- A valid Singapore (or other ETIAS approved country) passport. The passport must have a minimum of three months (90 days) validity remaining from the intended date of arrival
- A credit or debit card, which will be used to pay for the ETIAS application fee
- An active email address so that the decision on whether the waiver has been granted can be communicated
It is necessary that each traveler completes the ETIAS application form accurately and truthfully as any error on the form, accidental or not, could lead to the delay or rejection of the ETIAS.
The ETIAS Application Process for Singapore Citizens
In addition to paying the ETIAS application fee by credit or debit card, Singapore nationals applying for the ETIAS waiver will be asked to provide the following information:
- Personal information that will include the traveler’s full name, their date of birth, their place of birth, and their gender
- Contact details including their current address, email address, and phone number
- Passport details including the passport number and country of issue, the date of issue, and the date of expiration
- Travel plans such as which country travelers will enter and which other countries they intend on visiting
Travelers should also be prepared to provide up to date information regarding their health records and any history of criminal activity.
Currently, the European Commission is anticipating about a 95% acceptance rate. In those cases, travelers will be informed of the decision via email. It is imperative that they print out that email and carry it with them during any times when it may be required to produce their passport. The ETIAS will not be permanently affixed to a passport like a traditional visa. When asked to produce it at the airport by transit authorities, or at the border to the Schengen Area, travelers need to have a hard copy on hand.
If rejected, an email detailing the reason for the rejection, as well as instructions for how to appeal the decision will be sent. All appeals will be handled directly by Schengen-member country that the traveler intends to initially enter.
Why the Need for ETIAS?
For those travelers wondering why the European authorities are adopting a stricter policy, the answer is primarily about safety and border security.
In November 2016, the European Commission voted to implement the ETIAS program following a rise in the number of terrorist attacks across the continent. Authorities believe that the waiver system will be an efficient and secure way to screen travelers without adding unnecessary steps to their pre-travel checklist. Although it could seem to some travelers to be an unnecessary step, the ETIAS will ensure a safer Europe for all of its citizens as well as its tourists.