Nationals of four European Microstates, three of which do not even maintain border checks with the EU Members States they share land borders with, will need to apply for a Travel Authorization called the ETIAS, before stepping out of the territory of the country they live in.
The ETIAS, which stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System is a new scheme of the European Union, set to come into effect by 2021. Its main function is to permit and keep track of visitors from countries that do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone.
Because of the ETIAS requirement, Citizens of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican City cannot move freely within Europe starting from 2021
The main reason behind the purpose of the introduction of a scheme as ETIAS by the EU is the enhancement of security for both EU nationals, and travelers to the Member states.
Asked through the Europe Direct Contact Center whether the nationals of Andorra, Monaco and the Vatican City will need to obtain ETIAS in order to travel to the rest of Europe, an official of the European Commission, confirmed they will need the travel authorization, providing a list of all countries that will need an ETIAS.
All four microstates, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican are included in this list.
“The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) will strengthen security checks on those persons who travel visa-free to the EU, currently nationals from over 60 countries (full list here). In the list, you can see that Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City are included: https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/what-we-do/policies/borders-and-visas/visa-policy/apply_for_a_visa/docs/visa_lists_en.pdf,” the official confirmed.
Despite that in the past, there have been speculations that the ETIAS will not be required for nationals of these four non-EU and non-Schengen microstates, European Commission’s confirmation leaves no room for doubts.
Mostly affected by the new requirement will be workers, since many of the 150,060 nationals of these four microstates work outside the territory of their country, and have to travel daily to go to work to neighbouring countries, France, Spain, and Italy.
Currently, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City are considered de facto within the Schengen Area, as they have open borders with their Schengen neighbours.
On the other hand, Andorra, which does not have an airport or seaport, maintains border controls with both France and Spain.