Citizens of Kosovo will finally be able to travel to Schengen countries without having to apply for a visa first after the European Parliament approved the abolition of visas for Kosovo by 2024.
The decision was confirmed by a statement from the European Parliament on April 18, which approved the agreement on short-stay visa freedom with the Balkan country. VisaGuide.World reports.
The statement said Kosovo citizens would be allowed to travel to the European Union without a visa for periods of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
He adds that once the law comes into force, the entire Western Balkans region will benefit from a visa framework similar to that of the Schengen zone.
The European Parliament said that the decision to lift the visa requirement for citizens of Kosovo will come into force once the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is operational and, in any case, d by 2024.
The law will be promulgated today in Strasbourg by the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, and the Swedish Presidency of the Council. A joint press conference is also planned today, which will be attended by rapporteur Thijs Reuten, as well as Besnik Bislimi, Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo.
“After years in the waiting room, Kosovo is now the latest country in the Western Balkans region to join our visa-free regime. » Reuten stressed while emphasizing that this finally allows Kosovars to easily travel, visit relatives and do business in the European Union.
“But it is more than that: this step also constitutes an important basis for the future and ever closer cooperation between the European Union and Kosovo. » he added.
Kosovo citizens could travel to a limited number of foreign countries for years. Even though the visa liberalization process started more than a decade ago and the European Commission declared in 2018 that the country met all the necessary conditions, so far Kosovars can only visit 15 countries without a visa , on the basis of Visa Guide.World Passport Index.
Countries where Kosovars can travel without a visa include: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cook Islands, Dominica, Ecuador, Haiti, Micronesia, Montenegro, Niue, North Macedonia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Gambia. , Turkey.
In contrast, Kosovo passport holders need a valid visa to enter a total of 152 countries.
In the VisaGuide.World Passport Index, which ranks passports from 199 countries, Kosovo occupies all 196 positionsremaining at the bottom of the list when it comes to passport strength.
VisaGuide.World founder Besart Bajrami previously said that despite the fact that visa liberalization would quadruple the power of the Kosovo passport, it would nevertheless remain much lower on the list compared to the passports of other Western Balkan countries.