ETIAS Visa Waiver for San Marino

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San Marino is officially called the Republic of San Marino. It is a small country in Europe that has an area of only 61 km². It has a population of 33,600 in 2021. It is an enclave, which means it is landlocked. Its largest settlement is Dogana, and its capital city is San Marino and is on Mount Titan. From the North-Eastern end, the Italian city of Rimini is only about 20 kilometres. Italian and English are the official languages spoken in San Marino.
San Marino is one of the member states of the Schengen area. The Schengen Area consists of 26 European countries with a mutual agreement to open their borders among themselves. Citizens of these countries can travel to, live, and work in other Schengen countries for as long as they want. Visitors to any of the Schengen countries can also travel to other countries in the Schengen zone with a Schengen Visa.
Visitors to the Schengen area who are non-Europeans need to present their Schengen Visa and passport at the airport or border before the consular authorities can grant access into the Schengen area to them. Some non-Europeans from countries with a visa liberalization agreement with the European Union can enter the Schengen zone without a visa.

San Marino Visa and Entry Requirements

There are different kinds of visas available for visitors to enter San Marino; the Schengen visa, short-stay visa, long-term visa, and tourist visa are some types of visas available for entering San Marino. The Schengen visa is a short-stay visa appropriate for short-term visits to San Marino and the Schengen zone. It is mainly used by tourists and business people for short trips. It allows its users to visit the Schengen zone for a maximum of three months every six months.
Non-Europeans from countries whose governments have a no-visa agreement with the European Union can enter Europe and the Schengen area without a visa. However, from the end of 2022, they will need a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa waiver to visit the Schengen zone. A valid travel passport or any other equivalent travel document is required with your ETIAS or Schengen Visa to enter the Schengen zone.
The ETIAS visa waiver will be valid for three years before being renewed. It is only available for citizens of select countries with a no-visa policy with the European Union. On the other hand, the Schengen visa has a validity period of five years and is available for a larger audience.

Who Needs a Schengen Visa to Enter San Marino?

Apart from Europeans, not everyone needs a Schengen Visa or any visa at all to enter San Marino and other Schengen member states. There are two main groups of people who need a Schengen Visa before entering the Schengen area.
The first category is visitors from countries whose governments are in an agreement for visa liberalization with the European Union, but in times past have been rejected or deported from any Schengen member states. Although on a general note, citizens from such countries do not need a visa, that citizen in particular needs to own a Schengen Visa.
The second category is visitors from countries whose governments have no visa liberalization consensus with the European Union. Most countries fall into this category; some include Saudi Arabia, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic Of Congo, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Mali, Mongolia, North Korea, Ghana, and New Guinea. These two categories must obtain a Schengen Visa before entering San Marino and the other Schengen member states.

What Documents Are Required when Applying for a San Marino Schengen Visa?

A San Marino Schengen Visa can give you access to San Marino and other parts of the Schengen zone. The documents required for the visa application process provide a great deal of information about the applicant, assuring the consular authorities that they pose no threats to the smooth running of the country in question and the Schengen area in general.
Here are the documents required when applying for a San Marino Schengen Visa:
  • If applicable, copies of previous Schengen visas
  • A valid travel passport
  • Two recent passport photographs, not older than three months, and size 35 by 45 mm
  • Proof of payment of visa fee
  • Signed and appropriately filled application form
  • Proof of travel medical insurance
  • Round trip itinerary
  • Cover letter showing your reason for the visit
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Statement of accounts that proves that you can finance your stay in the Schengen zone
  • Entry and exit dates with the respective flight numbers
  • Fingerprints, unless it has been captured in the past 59 months
  • Proof that you will leave San Marino; usually an onward ticket or a return flight ticket
Applicants should fill out the application form in English or Italian, as they are the official languages spoken in San Marino. If any of your documents were issued in any different language, ensure it is translated.

Travelling to San Marino

Due to its small size and landlocked nature, vehicles travelling to San Marino are quite limited. When arriving by air, the closest airport is in Rimini - a city in Italy. The Rimini airport to San Marino is only about 21 kilometres, which can be covered in half an hour when driving. Alternatively, visitors can land in Bologna, another Italian city, and drive a distance of about 130 kilometres to get to San Marino.
Travelling by train is not an option, as there are no internal rails in San Marino. The closest rail line ends in Rimini, from where you will take a car or a bus to arrive in San Marino. Coming on the water is also not feasible either, due to its landlocked nature. Visitors need to be with their Schengen Visa and passport at all times, especially when crossing the border.

Europe's Travel Authorisation for San Marino

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) visa waiver is expected to be in action by the end of 2022 for non-European countries' citizens to enter San Marino and the Schengen area in general. Due to the travel conditions of a maximum of 90 days every six months, it is only suitable for short-term visits on tourism, short business trips, etc. Visitors who need a more extended stay in the Schengen zone need to apply for other visa forms.
Note importantly that the ETIAS visa waiver is not a kind of visa. It only delineates between low-risk and high-risk individuals, allowing only the former to enter the Schengen area.
In conclusion, San Marino is a tourist haven and receives several tourists annually. Due to its landlocked nature, the road is the only available entrance mode. It is no problem since it has open borders with other Schengen countries.