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EUROPEAN UNION – EU Signs Visa Waiver Agreements with Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu

, 08/08/2016

The European Union (EU) has recently signed short-stay visa waiver agreements with Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu, on behalf of its Schengen Area Member States.

The agreements will apply on a provisional basis from until approved by the European Parliament.

Agreements

The EU signed a short-stay visa waiver agreement with Kiribati on 23 June 2016, with the Marshall Islands in 28 June 2016 and with Tuvalu on 2 July 2016.

The reciprocal Schengen visa waiver is good for short visits for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period, including tourism, business and journalism, sports, artistic performances and intra-corporate training. It does not apply to persons travelling for the purpose of carrying out a paid activity.

Exceptions

The visa waiver agreements do not apply to the United Kingdom and Ireland which have opted out of the Schengen area. Nor do they automatically apply to Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein (non-EU participants in the Schengen Area) which are expected to sign separate equivalent agreements in each case.

Background

The Schengen Area consists of 22 European Union Member States and four non-members: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are not yet part of the Schengen Area, but nonetheless have a visa policy that is based on the Schengen area.

The visa policy of the Schengen Area determines which nationalities require visas to enter the zone, and which are visa exempt. Currently 58 nationalities qualify for the visa waiver.

Action Items

  • Note that nationals of Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu can now travel to the EU countries in the Schengen Area for tourism or business for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa.