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EU proposes waiving off visa requirements for nationals from Qatar & Kuwait

The European Commission has proposed the abolishment of visa requirements for Qatar and Kuwait nationals, pointing out that these countries have already met the necessary criteria.

According to a press release issued by the authority, the proposal follows a detailed assessment of irregular migration, public policy and security, economic benefits and the Union’s relations with Qatar and Kuwait, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Once the EU Council approves the proposal, Qatar and Kuwait nationals will be able to travel to all EU Member States for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period for business, tourism and family purposes, exempted from visa application requirements.

Applauding the act, Josep Borell, Vice-President, EU Commission’noted that this proposal marks the first step towards facilitating travel to the EU for nationals of the entire region.

“The final objective is to ensure regional coherence and ultimately achieve visa-free travel for all Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Together with our upcoming Joint Communication on the Gulf, this proposal will reinforce the overall partnership and strengthen the cooperation between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council,” the High Representative, Borell, stated.

The Commission concluded that Qatar and Kuwait don’t represent high risks of irregular migration risks and the countries are open to further cooperation on security issues with the Union. The countries also represent important economic partners, especially in the area of energy, as Qatar in 2014 was listed as the fourth highest natural gas producer in the world, while Kuwait generates about 114 per cent of its annual consumption needs, as data from 2016 shows.

In addition, both countries already issue biometric identification documents, which is a requirement for visa-free travel to the EU.

“Today we are proposing short-stay visa-free travel to the EU for Qatari and Kuwaiti citizens with biometric passports – facilitating people-to-people contacts and strengthening business, social and cultural ties,” Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas said, pointing out such proposal is a result of both parties’ cooperation.

Moreover, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, noted that the proposal for visa exemption would put ease to Qatar and Kuwait nationals for business travels, tourism and family visits to the bloc by also aiming at tighter partnership with Gulf countries, which also include Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

At present, nationals of more than 60 countries and territories are able to travel to EU countries exempted from visa requirements due to the EU law that enables such facilitation. In addition, travellers exempted from visa requirements will be able to visit the Schengen area but will remain subject to the EU Entry/Exit System (EES) as of the second half of 2022 and to the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) as of May 2023.

 

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