Travelers from the six Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – will be the first third-country citizens eligible to travel to the Schengen area on July 1, after more than three months of a total of three months. closure of the bloc’s borders for non-EU/EEA travelers.
The European Commission today presented its recommendation Member States of the Schengen Area and Schengen Associated States to extend the temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU until 30 June 2020, and at the same time to partially and gradually lift the travel restrictions depending on objective criteria set for each third country.
As a result, the Commission recommended lifting the entry ban for citizens from the Western Balkans on July 1, given that the virus situation in these countries is similar, or even better, to that in the EU.
“The Commission also recommends lifting travel restrictions for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia from July 1, given that their epidemiological situation is similar or better than that of the EU. This also follows the Commission’s desire to closely involve the Western Balkans region in the implementation of the roadmap towards the lifting of containment measures,» explains a press release published today by the Commission.
As for the rest of non-EU/EEA and UK citizens, the Commission suggests that the lifting of restrictions for each specific country be based on the epidemiological situation and response to coronavirus in that country.
As part of the objective criteria for reopening borders, the Commission also lists the possibility of applying containment measures during travel and indicates whether or not that country has lifted entry restrictions for EU nationals.
“Restrictions should be lifted first for countries whose epidemiological situation is similar to the EU average and where sufficient capacities are in place to fight the virus. Restrictions should remain in place for countries worse off than the EU», notes the press release.
While citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia will be able to travel visa-free within the Schengen area from July 1, citizens of Kosovo will soon be able to apply for a visa, as the Commission informed him The State will resume visa operations abroad.
To ensure a harmonized approach, the guidance states that consulates should resume operations in each location at the same time, while fully implementing EU visa rules.