On 28th May 2015, the EU signed short-stay visa waiver agreements with St Lucia, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Republic of Vanuatu, the independent State of Samoa and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
During the ceremony held in Brussels, the agreements were signed by Ms Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Parliamentary State Secretary for EU Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Latvia and by Mr. Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. Representatives from the 7 African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) countries also attended to sign the agreements.
The new agreements guarantee visa-free travel for EU citizens to these 7 ACP countries for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period. In return, citizens of these ACP countries will be entitled to travel to the EU visa-free for the same periods of time.
The rationale and motivation behind the agreements is the promotion of tourism and business between the EU and ACP countries. Ms Kalniņa -Lukaševica believes that the “agreements will encourage people-to-people contacts, boost tourism, and invigorate business between the EU and these seven ACP countries.”
Similarly, Mr Avramopoulos has commented that “these agreements will strongly contribute to strengthening trade relations.”
Visa-free travel will benefit all categories of persons travelling for visit purposes such as tourism, cultural visits, scientific activities, family visits and business visits. The provision does not extend to those travelling for work activities which would necessitate the appropriate work and immigration permission.
It is important to note that Ireland and the United Kingdom are not party to the agreement and the visa regime of these member states remains subject to domestic legislation.
Should you require any information regarding EU immigration, please contact us.