Can you enter Europe with a criminal record?

The European Union consists of 27 member countries that share in the political and economic decision-making of the region. Travelling to the EU with a criminal conviction can be a confusing and yet scary experience for some travellers. The good news is that the EU distinguishes between criminal convictions as a result of minor offences and those considered major crimes.

The European Union takes the security of its citizens very seriously and has measures in place to ensure that their safety is guaranteed in all circumstances. When it comes to travel safety, the EU has embarked on a mission to make security screening a basic feature of the visa application system for people who are interested in visiting Europe. It is always coming out with more information to help keep the public informed of the new security measures it is considering, in order to keep the region safe.

The ETIAS visa waiver is an electronic travel authorisation which allows citizens of certain countries to apply for an EU visa in order to safely and securely visit the 26 countries in the Schengen area. You can easily apply for the ETIAS visa waiver online by answering a series of questions and uploading the required documents in order to obtain their visa waiver in a few days’ time.

The ETIAS visa waiver is set to launch at the end of 2022 and while the EU has not finalised the questions that will be asked of applicants, there are some security questions that are under consideration aimed at exploring any criminal history that applicants may have.

Travelling to Europe With a Criminal Record

Even though the EU security measures are designed to be stringent, they are unlikely to be so when it comes to minor offences. If you only have a minor offence on your record, you may be concerned about being denied entry into the EU. The reality is that minor offences are unlikely to deter European border control officials from allowing a traveller entry into Europe. They are more concerned about crime that takes place within EU borders than outside of it.

With the implementation of the ETIAS visa waiver, you can expect to answer security questions that aim to get an idea of your past criminal convictions. It is important for you to answer these questions honestly and truthfully, as they will be used to assess whether or not you present a security risk to the general public.

How Does the ETIAS System Work to Preserve EU Security

The ETIAS visa waiver is a system designed to work together with other EU security databases to identify individuals who may pose a threat to the region through serious crime or terrorism-related offenses.

When you provide answers to the security questions on the ETIAS visa waiver form, these answers are checked against security databases to verify that the information provided is correct. This information allows European authorities to build a complete profile of you and assess any potential security risks associated with allowing you to enter Europe.

The security checks performed on the data provided on the ETIAS application are very thorough, as they are even checked against INTERPOL databases for Lost or Stolen Travel Documents. This ensures that the passport being used to apply for the ETIAS is valid and has not been reported lost or stolen by the owner. It also helps authorities determine whether or not there is a warrant out for the traveller’s arrest.

What Kind of Crimes Can Lead to A Denial of Entry into Europe

The ETIAS visa waiver will require you to answer basic security questions that inquire about any past criminal convictions you may have. The answers that you provide are checked against the European Criminal Records Information System or ECRIS.

The ECRIS is a database that allows exchange of information about non-EU foreign nationals who have committed a serious crime or are suspected of being involved in a terrorist activity now or in the future.

ETIAS visa waiver applicants’ data is cross-referenced against ECRIS. If the ECRIS does not find any record of you in the database, you will automatically receive the approved document via email.

In the event the ECRIS does find a record of you within the database, your application will then be assessed manually. The decision as to whether or not to grant you the ETIAS visa waiver will depend on the specifics of your case.

Any person suspected of being involved in terrorism-related offenses or serious crimes, such as sex trafficking, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, murder, or rape will be denied entry into Europe.

If you have committed minor offenses other than the above, you will generally be allowed entry into Europe.