Reasons for ETIAS visa waiver refusal
Published on: 06 January 2021

Starting from late 2022, travelers who previously had visa-free access to the Schengen area will have to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver prior to their journey. Going forward, those who receive an ETIAS visa waiver refusal will be denied entry to all of the 26-European Member States, including France, Germany, and Spain. Read on for the answer to the commonly asked question, “what is ETIAS visa waiver?”, and for information on how to apply for the travel authorization, possible reasons for rejection, and what to do if your ETIAS is denied. 

What is ETIAS Visa Waiver?

  • Short for the European Travel Information and Authorization System, the ETIAS visa waiver is a kind of travel authorization that people travelling from certain countries will need to obtain prior to arriving in the Schengen area. 
  • The purpose of ETIAS is to further protect and secure the Schengen area by making sure the people entering the zone will not commit criminal/terrorist acts once they arrive. ETIAS does this by essentially running criminal background checks on everyone who applies for the travel authorization.  
  • You will need to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver if you are from a country outside the EU and the Schengen area which previously had visa-free access to the zone. Citizens who are from the United States, Japan, Canada, and over 50 other states will be subject to the new ETIAS visa waiver requirements. (To see the full list of ETIAS countries, click here). 
  •  Unlike a Schengen visa, you can apply for an ETIAS waiver online, in a process that usually takes under 10-minutes. Once the ETIAS website and app becomes available, you can log on and fill out an application form. 
  • The information you provided will be checked against EU security databases, such as Interpol. 

ETIAS Visa Waiver Requirements

  • In order to apply for an ETIAS, you will need to supply the ETIAS visa waiver requirements, which includes the following information:
    • Passport information, including complete passport number and date of expiry (note: passport must be valid and not expired). 
    • Biographical information (full name, where you were born, your age, etc).
    • Security information (criminal history, etc). 
    • Historical Schengen visa activity (i.e. whether or not you have previously applied for a Schengen visa (and what the result of that application/stay was). 
  • In addition to satisfying the above requirements, applicants for ETIAS will need to be over 18-years old, and successfully submit payment for the ETIAS fee. 


  • At the moment, the ETIAS fee is just €7 EUR, payable online. 

Reasons for ETIAS Visa Waiver Refusal

  • While the majority of applicants seeking ETIAS visa wavers are approved within 10 minutes, some applications can take long, and ultimately, some are rejected. 
  • Depending on the nature of your application, your ETIAS could take up to 60 days to process. Occasionally, applications are denied. 
  •  If your ETIAS is denied, it could be for one of the following reasons: 

1. You did not pass the criminal background check

  • The entire point of ETIAS is to ensure that the people allowed into the Schengen area are good, law abiding individuals who will follow all the laws of the countries they travel to. If your ETIAS was refused, it is because, based on the information you provided, the EU security authorities who checked your application think you could present a security threat to the Schengen area. 
  • If you have previously been convicted of a crime, in either the Schengen area or your country of origin, you may be denied an ETIAS (and therefore entry into the Schengen area). 

2. You did not fulfil the requirements of a previous Schengen visa

  • Another goal of ETIAS is to only approve candidates who will not overstay their time in the Schengen area.  
  • Pursuant to this key objective, you will therefore be asked on your ETIAS application whether you have ever before received a Schengen visa. 
  • If you have historically been denied a Schengen visa, or been subject to deportation from the Schengen area, your ETIAS application will likely be flagged.  
  • Applicants who previously abused their Schengen visa privileges will likely be denied for an ETIAS, out of concern that they will do so again going forward. For example, if you previously received a Schengen visa and stayed beyond your visa validity period, you will likely be denied for an ETIAS going forward. 

3. Your travel document is invalid

  • If you attempted to apply for an ETIAS waiver with an invalid travel document, your application will likely be denied. 
  • Invalid travel documents include those which are expired or deemed inappropriate for travel. 
  • If you apply for an ETIAS with an expired passport, you will likely be denied. 
  • ETIAS applicants need to apply with a valid, internationally accepted travel document. Therefore, for example, if you are an American citizen and you try to apply for an ETIAS waiver with a US driver’s license (which is valid for domestic travel), you will be denied for an ETIAS, as US driver’s licenses are not accepted as valid for international travel.

4. You entered the wrong information on your application

  • The information you enter on your ETIAS application must match the information on your official documents. 
  • For example, if you enter the incorrect passport number (i.e. a number different than that on your passport) you will likely be denied an ETIAS. 
  • Therefore, when you are submitting your application ETIAS, double check to make sure that the information you provide matches the information on your official documents (full name, birthdate, etc). 
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