Saint Kitts and Nevis awards its citizens with a passport that makes it possible to use a visa-free regime in the Schengen countries. This is one of the reasons why the Citizenship by Investment program in this country is so popular among foreigners. However, starting from 2023, the new rules for visiting the Schengen countries come into force. Now, residents of St. Kitts and Nevis must obtain a special permit from ETIAS to travel to these states. Why is this permission needed, and how can you get it?
St. Kitts visa-free travel countries that require ETIAS
Twenty-six countries that are part of the Schengen area will require citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis ETIAS for entry: Italy, Austria, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Finland, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Germany, Belgium, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, Liechtenstein.
According to Zlata Erlach, a specialist from Immigrant Invest, European countries took this step to fight terrorism and improve the security of their citizens. The program was approved back in 2016 and took several years to fully prepare a working system and algorithms that will help improve the way foreigners are screened and increase the level of security of European citizens.
Prior to the introduction of requirements for ETIAS, holders of the passport of St. Kitts and Nevis and other countries that maintain a visa-free regime with the countries of the Schengen agreement do not undergo almost any checks. Apparently, this caused concern in the governments of the EU countries. But holders of dual citizenship of St. Kitts and Nevis do not have to worry about this since the process of getting this permit does not take much time and money.
Before boarding a ship or plane, representatives of the transport company will check that citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis have a valid passport and ETIAS. If at least one of the documents is missing, the traveler will not be able to go to their destination as they will simply not be allowed at the border.
The application approval process is as follows:
- The applicant fills out the required form.
- All information of the applicant automatically passes through the collective security system of the Schengen Agreement.
- If the system does not find a match, the application will be approved. Otherwise, manual processing will be required, which will take additional time. If as a result, it is found that the applicant has a criminal record, the application will most likely not be approved.
How to apply ETIAS in St. Kitts?
There is no need to go to an embassy or consulate to apply for an ETIAS for Saint Kitts and Nevis citizens. Simply use the online service on the ETIAS website or app. The applicant will only need a Saint Kitts passport and a special form that they will need to fill in immediately on the site.
In the application form, a citizen of Saint Kitts and Nevis must indicate the following data:
- Full name
- Passport ID
- Date of issue and country of the passport
- Validity of the passport
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- The country of the Schengen area to which the applicant is sent
- Estimated date of arrival
To receive a notification of the result of the verification, you must provide a valid email address and phone number. You also need to answer a few additional questions about criminal records, visa history, health, etc. The application process only takes ten minutes.
Participants of the Citizenship by Investment Program are almost guaranteed to receive approval of the application since one of the St. Kitts passport requirements is the absence of a criminal record.
How long does it take to process an ETIAS for St. Kitts & Nevis application?
After the applicant fills in the required form, the system checks passport data through Europol, Interpol, and other security databases. Usually, a notification of an approved application comes within a day. The ETIAS will then be sent to the applicant by email in digital format. If the system considers that the data needs additional verification, the process may take another 2-3 business days. Thus, it is better to apply 4-5 days before the trip to get permission in time.
Ready ETIAS permit is valid for 3 years. If the validity of the passport expires earlier, you must fill out a new application after its renewal.
What is the cost of ETIAS?
Before completing the permit form, the applicant must pay a fee of 7 euros. Applicants under 18 and over 70 can apply for free!
What else is worth knowing about ETIAS?
- You need to fill out an application a few days before the trip, regardless of the vehicle that the traveler will use. It can be sea transport, bus, or plane.
- If a citizen plans to visit the St. Kitts visa-free travel countries only in transit, an ETIAS permit still must be obtained.
- If a traveler plans to spend more than 3 months in a Schengen country, they must first obtain a Schengen visa.
- Once an ETIAS application has been approved, a PDF document will be sent to the applicant’s email address. It does not need to be printed as it is stored in the European immigration system.
- Citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis can fill out the ETIAS form via the website from a computer, laptop, or any phone with Internet access.
- Even if all requirements have been met and the traveler has received an ETIAS, the entry decision is made by the border guards.
- The recommended application time is 4 days before departure to St. Kitts and Nevis visa-free countries.
- If a citizen of St. Kitts and Nevis was unable to obtain an ETIAS due to a refusal, they can still apply for a Schengen visitor visa.
- Travelers who have applied for a Schengen visa and have been approved do not need an ETIAS permit.
Despite the new rules, the Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship program still remains interesting for foreign investors https://immigrantinvest.com/blog/how-to-citizenship-st-kitts-and-nevis-by-investment-en/. The specifics of obtaining ETIAS are far from being as complicated as in the case of a Schengen visa. Permission can be obtained in just a few minutes. No additional documents other than a passport and a special form are needed.
Since the ETIAS permit takes a short time to complete the form and is valid for 3 years, it has almost no effect on the validity of the Saint Kitts passport. The agreement with more than 125 countries on a visa-free regime greatly simplifies any travel around the world for those who have the status of a citizen of this country.
In addition to Europe, the United States, Canada, and China are often interesting travel destinations. The first two countries are not so easy to visit. To do this, a foreigner will have to contact the embassy and prepare the necessary documents for obtaining a visa, which is valid for 10 years. To visit China, you also need to go to the embassy and get a visa that is valid for 30 days. You do not need to apply for an ETIAS to travel to these countries.
Saint Kitts and Nevis is an amazing country, the features of which allow its citizens to travel to many parts of the world without a visa and enjoy a pleasant tax regime and climate. Getting Saint Kitts passport is not so difficult. For this, there is a citizenship by investment program.