EC to Grant Visa-Free Travel to 16 Island Nations
The European Commission has decided to grant visa free travel to the Schengen area to 16 Island Nations in a bid to spur economic growth in the EU.
"Travelling without a visa is not just a symbolic gesture – it will have a direct impact on citizens of these countries and on EU citizens, in the form of more people-to-people contacts and business opportunities", said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
The EC proposal concerns 5 Caribbean Island Nations (Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago), 10 Pacific Island Nations (Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), and Timor Leste, which are to be added to the list of third countries and territories whose nationals are exempt from the visa obligation.
A national from one of these countries would no longer require a visa for short stays (up to 90 days) if he/she is in possession of a passport, be it for business, touristic or family visit purposes, according to the EC press office.
The Commission's proposal foresees that the visa exemption will be reciprocated through visa waiver agreements, ensuring a visa free regime for all EU citizens who wish to travel to these countries.
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