ETIAS Visa Waiver for Travelers from Tonga

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105,000 Pacific islanders in Tonga will join the ETIAS system when it arrives in 2023. The ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) visa waiver will give short-term travel rights in the Schengen zone to Tongans who fit its requirements. Tongans may read this article to discover when they need an ETIAS visa, what it requires of them, and the process of application.

When will I Need an ETIAS Visa?

ETIAS was originally planned for launch in 2021. However, COVID-19 set the onset of ETIAS back by 24 months, and Tongans do not currently need one to visit the Schengen area. Now, ETIAS will become compulsory for all Tongans making short-term travel to the Schengen area from January 1st, 2023. However, they can choose to travel on an ETIAS visa and open any applications from late 2022.
ETIAS visas only provide the right to short-term travel. This means planned travel that is 90 days long or less. If Tongans wish to stay for longer, they must arrange a residency permit and a full visa.

ETIAS Requirements

This right is not going to be given to all Tongans; only those who fit the strict ETIAS requirements. These are that all travellers must be safe, unlikely to participate in criminal activity and carry no health risks for EU citizens. The EU will assess this based on the way that Tongans complete their ETIAS applications.

Applying for ETIAS

The ETIAS application is formed of two parts: documentation and questions.
Tongans must provide two key pieces of official documentation. Firstly, they will need a valid and in-date Tongan passport supplied to them through official channels. Secondly, they will need proof of address that they will have acquired in everyday life. This could include a utility bill for the past three months. Supplementary to this, Tongans must provide a clear and formal photograph of their face to be featured on their ETIAS visa waiver electronic document.
Some quick questions must also be answered to help the EU determine if they can trust the Tongan to be a safe traveller. They must affirm that they have no recent terrorist or serious criminal convictions. To tackle people smuggling, Tongans must also affirm they have no affiliations with human trafficking groups.

When is More Required?

All Tongans regardless of age or status must fulfil these applications, although minors and elderly people are not obliged to pay an application fee. Sometimes, more is required for an ETIAS visa waiver to be given if concerns are raised surrounding the applicant.
These issues can be divided into minor and major problems, and are dealt with by the EU differently. Small problems will not lead to a rejection, but the Tongan will be politely requested to recomplete certain sections or answer supplementary questions via email.
Around 5% of Tongans will have serious problems with their applications, as has been the case in similar visa waiver systems used in the USA and Canada. Tongans may appeal their rejection, which will require them to provide a great deal more documentation and information. They can take up to 96 hours to provide anything asked of them and can expect serious delays in their application, as the EU will take its time to come to a decision.

Rights Granted by the ETIAS Visa Waiver

A valid ETIAS visa waiver gives a Tongan traveller the right to go to any Schengen zone states for the aforementioned period of fewer than 90 days.
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • Norway
  • Lithuania
  • San Marino
  • Slovenia
  • Latvia
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Czech Republic
  • Sweden
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Iceland
  • Netherlands
  • France
  • Austria
  • Portugal
  • Vatican City
  • Greece
  • Estonia
  • Luxembourg
  • Denmark
  • Switzerland
  • Hungary
  • Slovakia

Avoiding Mistakes when Completing ETIAS Applications

A great deal of annoyance can be avoided if Tongans work hard on their initial application, so that they do not have to go through the laborious process of providing more information, appealing rejection, or reapplying for ETIAS. Doing so will allow them to avoid the common mistakes which will cause the ETIAS administration to unearth discrepancies.
Tongans must firstly check their documentation to ensure that it is valid and is their own. Applying on an out-of-date passport will lead to rejection. Secondly, they must ensure all information they give is clear, correct, and sufficient to answer the questions. Any incorrect information will be unearthed in Interpol cross-checks and lead to rejection.

Check ETIAS Validity

Once granted, Tongans electronic ETIAS visa waiver document will be valid for three years. The expiry date will be displayed clearly on the document, and Tongans must thoroughly check to ensure all of their travelling period is within the three years of validity.


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