ETIAS Criminal Record Questions

In this article

Europe is one of the most flourishing continents in the world, with more than 500 million visitors annually. While it continues to develop and strengthen, it has also experienced a fair share of terrorism and other insecurities. On this note, ETIAS is one of its effective security-tightening mechanisms.
ETIAS screens travelers from certain countries before they are allowed to enter the EU, and as part of due diligence, these applicants will be required to answer ETIAS criminal record questions. The essence is to determine if they will pose threats if granted entry into their desired country. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about ETIAS criminal record questions.

The Contents of the ETIAS Application From

The ETIAS application form is designed for non-EU citizens who want to travel to countries in the European Union without needing a visa. This form contains a series of questions that cover personal information, travel history, health status, travel plans, and security-related questions.
Some of the personal details you will be required to provide include the following:
  • Your full name.
  • Birth country, nationality, and state of residence.
  • Occupation.
  • Email address.
  • Education (from basic to tertiary education).
  • Mobile number.
  • Date and place of birth, etc.

You will need to provide credible and honest answers about the following:
  • Your health status.
  • What you plan to do in the country.
  • How long you plan to stay in the country.
  • Your planned point of entry into the country.
  • If you have made any previous decisions that required you to leave the territory of an EU Member State.
  • If you have recently been deported from any EU country or other country that needs a visa to enter Europe.

Other vital parts of this form are explained in this article.

The Purpose of Security Checks and Criminal Background Questions

The purpose of security and criminal background questions in the application process is to determine whether you are a threat to the security and safety of the European Union (EU) and its citizens. This is because, in recent years, there have been a number of terrorist attacks in Europe.
By collecting information about an applicant's criminal history and other relevant information, the ETIAS system can identify individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes or terrorist offenses and prevent them from entering the EU.
This doesn’t mean that felons can’t travel to Europe. It is possible to apply for ETIAS with a criminal record and get your application approved. The final decision will depend on when your criminal conviction occurred and its details. In fact, people with minor offenses will usually be granted entry to the ETIAS countries.
Additionally, the system can identify individuals who have spent time in war or conflict zones or who have been previously removed from EU territory and determine whether they pose a potential security threat. This process helps the EU ensure its citizens' safety and maintain security within its territories.

What Do Criminal Record Questions Include?

As part of due diligence for proper security in the ETIAS and Schengen zone, you will need to provide answers to the following criminal statuses:
  • Money laundering.
  • Sexual exploitation.
  • Sexual offenses with minors.
  • Rape.
  • Human trafficking.
  • Murder.
  • Criminal damage to lives or property.
  • Children trafficking.
  • Drug trafficking.
  • Terrorism (within the last twenty years) and further information on the time and country it happened.

Disclosing Information on Trips to Conflict Zones

The EU and ETIAS governing bodies are keen on security within their regions. Hence, you will need to provide information about your recent visit and stay in conflict zones. You will need to state if you have traveled or stayed in war or conflict zones in the last ten years and the reason why you traveled or stayed there. You will also have to indicate if you have had any criminal convictions within the previous ten years and the country they took place.

Will ETIAS Only Ask About Previous 10 Years Convictions?

ETIAS will ask about criminal offenses that date to 10 years back. However, it will require a 20-year record for terrorism cases.

How Do EU Countries Check Traveler's Criminal Records? Security Databases in Use

Once you have applied for ETIAS, the EU country cross-checks your information. It compares it with several databases, including the European Union, SIS, Interpol systems, Europol, and an inter ETIAS watchlist.

ETIAS Watchlist to Be Established

The ETIAS watchlist is a database that contains terrorism suspects and other wanted individuals for heinous crimes across the EU, Schengen member states, and the globe.

Answer Security Questions Honestly

You should note that ETIAS uses different security databases. So it is vital that you answer every question honestly and truthfully because ETIAS will detect every inconsistent and inaccurate information. Inconsistencies can disqualify you automatically.

ETIAS: Strengthening Security Across Europe

Europe has been in a long battle against terrorism and insecurity. Thus, ETIAS is a security tool to ensure that its borders are free of dangerous entities. This is why every applicant has to fill out the ETIAS form, after which ETIAS checks their personal information and other details relating to security against a number of databases within and outside Europe.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.


  • 1. Can you get a European visa with a criminal record?

    A criminal record does not automatically disqualify you for an ETIAS visa. But your chances depend on the following:
    • The nature and severity of the crime.
    • The length of time since the conviction.
    • The length of your sentence.
    Aside from the crime, ETIAS authorities may also consider factors like your purpose of visit, the length of stay, and previous travel history.
  • 2. Can I still apply for ETIAS if I have a criminal record?

    Yes, you can still apply for ETIAS even if you have a criminal record. You can still get ETIAS with a criminal record.
  • 3. Can convicted felons go to Europe?

    Yes, convicted felons can go to Europe. However, from 2023, they may need an ETIAS visa waiver to ensure free entry and movement within the continent.
  • 4. What questions will be on the ETIAS?

    The ETIAS application will include the following questions:
    • Personal information: name, date of birth, place of birth, gender, and contact details.
    • Passport information: passport number, expiration date, and country of issuance.
    • Travel information: point of entry to the Schengen Area, intended length of stay, and accommodation details.
    • Security-related questions: criminal record, previous refusals of entry or visa, and terrorist activities.
    • Health-related questions: current or past infectious diseases such as COVID-19
  • 5. How long does ETIAS approval take?

    ETIAS approval ranges from a few minutes to 4 days. Sometimes, it may take up to a month if there is a need for some extra processing.
  • 6. Is ETIAS mandatory now?

    According to the latest announcements, ETIAS will begin operations in November 2023 and it will be mandatory for visitors traveling to any of the Schengen Area countries that currently don’t require a visa.

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