Even if an applicant lies on their application, the ETIAS authorities will
screen their details across a number of security databases to check whether
any serious crimes have been committed. Being dishonest will most certainly
lead to the application being denied.
If your ETIAS is denied but you still want to visit the Schengen Zone,
the other option is to apply for a Schengen Visa. In this scenario, you would need
to attend the Embassy in your country for an interview and to provide further details
regarding your criminal conviction and any other documents and information that is requested.
Following the interview, the officials will decide whether to issue a Schengen Visa based
on the details of your criminal conviction and the level of risk that it poses
to the Schengen Zone and people living within it.
European criminal records databases
The countries within the Schengen Zone operate with a shared set of databases,
to help to monitor criminals and to prevent them from being able to
enter the Schengen Zone border.
The European Criminal Records Information System on convicted third country
nationals (ECRIS) has been created to help countries to exchange data regarding
existing criminal records for non-EU and stateless people.
Data stored on ECRIS will include fingerprints where available, as well as facial images.
The system will be managed by the eu-LISA agency who manages the ETIAS system.
The introduction of ETIAS enables the Schengen Zone officials to pre-screen travellers and
therefore boost security measures involving people entering the area.
In some cases, if the crime has been regarded as spent, it will not affect
the ETIAS application, so even if you have an ETIAS declined, there may
be an opportunity to apply for an ETIAS at a later date in the future.
This will depend on the seriousness of the conviction
, with the worst
level of crime preventing offenders from
obtaining an ETIAS
to enter the Schengen Zone.
Can I travel to Europe with a serious criminal record?
It is unlikely that you will be allowed to travel to Europe with a serious criminal record.
Anyone who has spent more than 3 years in jail or has been convicted of trafficking or drug
offences with over two years of jail time will usually be declined.
There are different rules across the member states, so there could be a possibility of
applying for a Schengen visa for the specific country you are visiting and the embassy
will review your criminal record and make a decision whether to issue a visa.
Spent convictions will not usually impact travelling to Europe, unless the offence
included over 30 months’ of imprisonment.