EU signs visa waiver agreement with Colombia
Joaquín Nogueroles Garcia
Press officer (Home Affairs; Counter-terrorism coordination)
On 2 December 2015 the EU signed a short-stay visa waiver agreement with Colombia, at a ceremony that took place in Brussels. On behalf of the EU, the agreement was signed by Jean Asselborn, Minister of Immigration and Asylum of Luxembourg and President of the Council, and by Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. On the Colombian side, Maria Angela Holguín, Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed the agreement.
The signature took place in the presence of the Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini.
The new visa regime provides for visa-free travel for EU citizens when travelling to the territory of Colombia and for citizens of Colombia when travelling to the EU, for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period.
Jean Asselborn, Minister of Immigration and Asylum of Luxembourg and President of the Council expressed his satisfaction at being able to sign this agreement on behalf of the EU. “This agreement will bring the people of Colombia and the EU closer together as people to people contacts will be improved. It will also promote tourism and have a positive impact on business between the EU and Colombia.”
In order to benefit from visa-free travel, citizens from the EU and Colombia must be in possession of a valid ordinary, diplomatic, service/official or special passport. Visa-free travel applies to all categories of persons and for any kind of purposes of travel (for instance tourism, cultural visits, scientific activities, family visits, business etc.), except to persons travelling for the purpose of carrying out a paid activity.
The text of the decision on the conclusion of the Agreement and of the Agreement will now be sent to the European Parliament with a view to obtaining its consent before the Agreement can be concluded. However, it will apply on a provisional basis as from 3 December 2015
Ireland and the United Kingdom will not be subject to the application of the agreement, in accordance with the protocols annexed to the EU treaties. The visa regime to these member states remains subject to their national legislation.