European Parliament Votes to Scrap Visa Regime for Kosovo Citizens

Kosovo citizens will be able travel freely to the EU's passport-free Schengen zone by the start of 2024 after European Parliament members approved the removal of the visa regime on Tuesday.

Kosovo passport holders will be able to travel to the EU without visas for 90 days in any 180-day period.

The exemption from visa requirements will apply from the start date for the operation of the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System, ETIAS, a travel authorisation system for non-EU nationals which is expected to come into force by November 1 this year or no later than January 1, 2024.

Prior to the vote on Monday, MEP Tomas Waitz, the co-chair of the European Green Party, said in a statement that "today is a day of joy for Kosovo and its citizens".

"After years of blockade in the [European] Council, the European Parliament will finally approve visa liberalisation for Europe's youngest country today. This step on Kosovo's way towards the EU is long overdue," Waitz added.

Kosovo was the only country in the Western Balkans with a visa regime with the EU, although it met all the requirements to secure visa-free travel in 2018. Since then, EU states that do not recognise Kosovo's independence have been holding up the process of approval, as well as states like France and the Netherlands that were concerned about potential migration problems.

The government in Pristina welcomed Tuesday's decision, saying that "Kosovo fulfilled all the conditions for the liberalisation of visas on time, but until now there has been a lack of consensus among member countries for the advancement of the process".

"Thanks to the work of the government, especially in the field of the rule of law, the fight against corruption and...

Continue reading on: