European Commission proposes visa-free travel for Kosovo
The European Commission proposed on May 4 2016 to lift visa requirements for the people of Kosovo.
In a statement announcing the proposal, made to the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, the EC used the term “people of Kosovo” rather than “citizens” – the bloc is officially status-neutral about Kosovo, with some EU members recognising Kosovo’s independence from Serbia but others not.
If approved, Kosovo will be moved to the visa-free list for short-stays in the Schengen area.
The proposal was presented together with the EC’s positive assessment confirming that Kosovo has fulfilled the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap.
In the progress report, the EC confirmed that Kosovo has met all the requirements of its visa liberalisation roadmap, “on the understanding that by the day of adoption of this proposal by the European Parliament and Council, Kosovo will have ratified the border/boundary agreement with Montenegro and strengthened its track record in the fight against organised crime and corruption”.
The ongoing implementation by Kosovo of all requirements set out in the four blocks of the visa roadmap, as well as reintegration and readmission, will be monitored in the post-visa liberalisation monitoring mechanism, the Stabilisation and Association Process and, if necessary, through ad hoc follow-up mechanisms, the EC said.
Once the proposal has been adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the people of Kosovo with biometric passports will no longer require visas when travelling for short stays of up to 90 days to all EU member states except for Ireland and the UK, as well as the four Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
The exemption concerns only short-stay visas valid for up to 90 days of travel in any 180-day period for business, tourist or family purposes. EU citizens can already travel to Kosovo visa-free.
Other entry conditions for access to the Schengen area will continue to apply, including the need to be able to prove sufficient financial means and the purpose of travel. The visa exemption does not provide for the right to work in the EU.