Latest Developments as to Schengen Visa-Free Travel: Caribbean Passports Impacted by ETIAS

Originally signed on June 14, 1985, the Schengen Agreement is a treaty between the Schengen Area member states. It was introduced to allow free border crossing for both people and goods inside the Schengen Area, with no passport control or any other analogous procedures necessary.

The signatories thereof were several EU states and some other non-EU European countries.

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is seen as a Schengen instrument to ensure security and safety for both tourists and local population. As expected, ETIAS will be implemented in November, 2023. The new automated IT system is being designed to strengthen and enhance security checks for Schengen visa-free travelers, with US and Canadian citizens among them.

ETIAS and Caribbean Citizenship

What is ETIAS and how will the system operate?

Dozens of visa liberalization state nationals currently enjoy visa-free access to the Schengen Area. The ETIAS system actually allows overseas citizens with the right to enter the EU without a visa to apply for a travel authorization before their trip to Europe.

Introducing ETIAS does not mean current visa-free EU and Schengen visitors will lose their right for a visa-free EU entry after the system has been implemented. They will simply have to apply for an ETIAS authorization as visa-free visitors before entering the EU.

ETIAS applicants will enjoy an opportunity to file their applications online, without it being necessary to meet a tourist agent or visit an embassy in the EU. Just fill in and submit the corresponding application form together with the supporting documents (like your passport copy) online, and you are done.  This opportunity is available to you no matter where you are at the moment, provided Internet access is available. 

Why is ETIAS about to be introduced for visa-free EU travels?

It is true that filling an application through ETIAS poses no problem for applicants. Many of them still wonder if an extra bureaucratic procedure is indeed necessary to visit Europe on a visa-free basis.

In the longer term, both Europe and its overseas visitors will benefit from the use of ETIAS with its embedded cutting-edge technologies.

The main thing is that ETIAS will provide for safer European border crossing and better monitoring thereof, allowing the authorities to see who enters Europe and when it happens. Thus, an enhanced border control will be provided between the Schengen and non-Schengen states.

European border and law enforcement authorities will benefit from a more efficient information exchange, with ongoing communication between the Schengen states. This will provide for an enhanced terrorism, transnational crime, and undocumented immigration control.

With foreign visitors obliged to apply for an ETIAS authorization before departure, the program will secure an adequate and proper response to the increasing tourist load on the part of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

ETIAS: advantages for overseas tourists

Apart from a safer European stay, ETIAS comes with a number of other benefits for foreign EU visitors:

  1. With the necessary forms filled in and submitted online together with the holder’s passport data, ETIAS is expected to simplify and speed up border document checks. Smart passport processing will allow ID holders who applied for an ETIAS authorization to completely avoid waiting at the passport control area together with other foreign tourists.
  2. In contrast to obtaining a visa, a foreigner does not have to apply to the corresponding embassy to get an ETIAS authorization. A simple online application that will take you a couple of minutes to fill in is enough. Having obtained it, ETIAS authorization holders will be able to visit all the Schengen member states and cross all internal EU borders without applying to any consulate or visa application center.
  3. Not only will ETIAS submit valuable data to law enforcement agencies but also supply travelers with useful info. With their data recorded online, travelers will be able to learn how much longer they are allowed to stay in Europe any time they want or need to.

Vanuatu no longer boasts visa-free EU access

The Republic of Vanuatu is an island nation in the Pacific east of Australia. In April 2015, the country signed a visa waiver agreement with the European Council allowing Vanuatu passport holders to visit any EU member states on a visa-free basis and stay therein for as long as 90 days within any 180-day period without submitting any extra documents. With this excellent opportunity in store, the country managed to revive its Vanuatu CBI program in 2016. In 2017, the latter picked up steam.

The Vanuatu CBI scheme offers international investors to obtain Vanuatu citizenship in exchange for a major contribution to the country’s Development Support Program (a.k.a. DSP). The contribution size varies with the applicant number, as not only the investor themselves but also their dependants (i.e., a spouse, minor or denendent children and/or parents) may apply for Vanuatu CBI. The processing time is rather short – it only takes a couple of months to get your brand-new passport in Vanuatu. With Vanuatu CBI in the bag, the applicants may obtain a Vanuatu passport and enjoy multiple benefits to travel the globe.

As the Vanuatu passport allowed its holders to enter the EU without a visa, the European Union constantly monitored and assessed the Vanuatu CBI scheme. Several worrisome aspects were discovered in the process resulting in the suspension of the above visa waiver agreement of 2015.

The said aspects are listed below:

  1. due diligence screening was doubtful in case of the applicants’ background information
  2. information exchange between the Vanuatu government and the applicants’ countries of origin was likely to be lacking
  3. applicants appearing on the Interpol Wanted List and in Interpol databases were granted Vanuatu CBI
  4. no residence or physical presence requirements existed as to the applicants for Vanuatu CBI.

It should also be mentioned that many successful applicants originally came from the states with no visa waiver agreements with the EU and thus needed a visa to enter the European Union.

With the above considerations in mind, the decision was made to suspend the above visa waiver agreement. After the decision went into effect, Vanuatu passport holders lost the opportunity to enter the EU without a visa.

Seamless EU access for CBI holders

Facing the upcoming ETIAS introduction, foreign guests wishing to travel the EU trouble-free, should decide in favor of applying for either EU CBI or residency by investment. These are the best available options to save yourself any related troubles. Different EU member states come up with CBI and residence by investment schemes offering varying terms for investors and their dependants. The residence by investment program in Hungary is among the easiest options available. Thereunder, you are welcome to apply for and obtain your residence permit by real estate investment in a matter of months. Mind that including your depandants as co-applicants for a Hungary residence permit is not allowed. Even so, they are welcome to apply for a residence permit in Hungary stating family reunification as the ground therefor after the main applicant has received their residency.

Saint Kitts and Grenada are the other options to consider when thinking over your residence permit opportunities. These are currently 2 stable countries unlikely to be deprived of their EU visa-free access in future. Great Britain in its turn has always been among the countries boasting strong ties with the EU. This way, you are guaranteed to keep your opportunity to travel to the EU visa-free from the United Kingdom, should you obtain CBI therein.

ETIAS application filing and assessment

As a visa-exempt traveler to the EU, you will only be able to file your ETIAS application online. Please, be sure to complete a dedicated form on the ETIAS website 96 hours before the departure. The following information shall be provided: your passport data, residence address, education, employer, and citizenship. Don’t forget to mention the first country you will enter.

ETIAS travel authorizations are valid to enter 58 Schengen and EU member states on a visa-free basis.

According to the EU Council, it will take you around 10 minutes to obtain data verification results. For the above purpose, the submitted information is checked against the available EU databases and information systems to find out whether the applicant poses any irregular migration or security risks. If not, their application will be satisfied automatically, with ETIAS authorization granted.

In case of any hits against the searched databases, the application in question will be sent to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency or the corresponding ETIAS member state subdivision to be processed manually. Based on the verification results, the application for the EU travel authorization will be either satisfied or denied. 

Where their application is refused, the applicant may appeal the above decision. Mind, this is only possible if your application is refused due to incorrectly supplied or filed data therein.

An ETIAS authorization shall be valid either within 3 years or till your passport expires. You will pay EUR 7 in fees to have your application processed. Exceptions are granted for children under 18 and applicants over 70, who receive their ETIAS authorizations at no cost.


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Jurisdictions on ETIAS list offering CBI to foreign investors

Montenegro and 5 Caribbean states offer CBI and second passports to foreign investors.  With their visa-free passports, holders thereof may visit over 120 countries, with EU and Schengen States among them. Successful CBI program applicants from the above regions are welcome to stay in the EU for as long as 90 days each quarter with their visa-free passports.

You can obtain a Caribbean passport by investing upwards of USD 100,000 in the national economy. Document processing takes at least 2 months on a standard basis. Caribbean governments offer CBI applicants several investment options to choose from.

Dominica CBI will cost you upwards of USD 100,000 that you’ll purchase real estate for, with non-refundable commissions.

You will pay the same amount to obtain Saint Lucia CBI on the same terms. Saint Lucia CBI comes with wider investment choices: you are welcome to purchase government bonds or invest in local businesses, among other things.

The investment amount to obtain Antigua and Barbuda CBI is upwards of USD 100,000 that you will pay to set up a company or purchase real estate in the country.

The International Wealth industry experts recommend that you consider acquiring St Kitts and Nevis CBI or Grenada CBI. The amount you’ll have to invest to obtain your Caribbean passport therein is upwards of USD 150,000 that you shall purchase real estate for. With Grenada or St Kitts CBI, you’ll obtain a visa-free passport allowing you to visit the EU without a visa and enjoy the other nice benefits. Grenada CBI or St Kitts CBI comes with a number of its own advantages, and many investors decide in favor of their second passports.

To receive a Caribbean visa-free passport thereunder, investors will have to undergo thorough due diligence, make a contribution to the corresponding government fund, and purchase shares in a government pre-approved project, i.e., a hotel or a spa.

To obtain your second visa-free passport and travel the world freely like a globetrotter,you are welcome to contact the International Wealth CBI experts for a consultation. It doesn’t take much, simply contact us at, and we’ll be with you in a heartbeat.

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