April’s Visa-Free Digest

A Comprehensive Analysis of Last Month’s Changes to Visa-Free Travel Across the Globe.

Afghanistan Ecuador Oman Suriname
Argentina European Union Paraguay Taiwan
Bahrain Grenada Peru Turkey
Bolivia Guyana Qatar Ukraine
Brazil India Schengen Area United Kingdom
Chile Ireland South Africa Uruguay
China Kuwait Sri Lanka Uzkbekistan
Colombia Macau St Kitts and Nevis  

Europe

Named relevant countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, European Union, Guyana, Ireland, Paraguay, Peru, Schengen Area, South Africa, Suriname, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay

On 19 March, President Erdogan of Turkey attended a video call with European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and EU Council President, Charles Michel. Erdogan reportedly stressed that talks over visa-free travel must be restructured. Further, a report prepared for a summit of EU leaders and made public on 23 March, stated that Turkey deserves visa-free travel to the European Union. Turkey has been attempting to reach an agreement on visa-free travel to the Schengen Area for its citizens since the first summit between Turkey and the European Union in 2015.

On 23 March, the office of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, announced that the President signed a decree temporarily lifting visa requirements for citizens of China. Under the decree, Chinese citizens can stay in Ukraine on a visa-free basis for 30 days in any 180-day period between 1 April and 30 September 2021.

On 24 March, the House of Lords’ European Union Committee in the United Kingdom published a report titled ‘Beyond Brexit: Trade in services.’ The report urged the UK Government to seek an urgent bilateral and reciprocal agreement with the European Union to allow artists to tour Europe visa-free. On 25 March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK Government was working “flat out” to find a solution.

Covid-19 Responses

On 10 March, the Minister for Justice of Ireland, Helen McEntee, stated that the ban on visa-free travel from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and South Africa had been extended until it is no longer needed for public health reasons. Ireland’s ban on visa-free travel from these countries was previously due to expire on 5 March.

Caribbean

Named relevant countries: Grenada, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, Ukraine

On 1 March, the agreement on the abolition of visa requirements, signed by the Government of Grenada and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, entered into force. Citizens of both countries are now able to visit each other’s territories without visas for 90 days within any 180-day period.

On 22 March, the Permanent Representative of St Kitts and Nevis to the United Nations, H.E. Ian Liburd, and the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, H.E. Mohan Pieris, signed joint communique on behalf of their respective governments. The two ambassadors made a commitment to advancing a mutual visa waiver agreement for “holiday travel” between the two countries in the near future.

Middle East

Named relevant countries: China, Oman

On 29 March, representatives of Oman and China signed a visa waiver agreement in Muscat, granting mutual visa-free travel for Omani and Chinese citizens.

Asia

Named relevant countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, China, India, Kuwait, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Uzbekistan

On 1 March, Uzbekistan implemented a visa-free regime for stays of up to 10 days for citizens of Bahrain, China, Kuwait, Macau, Oman, Qatar, and Taiwan.

On 18 March, the Ambassador of Afghanistan in Colombo, M. Ashraf Haidari, discussed relations between Afghanistan and Sri Lanka with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena. They spoke of the status of several pending MOUs and agreements, including on diplomatic visa waiver collaboration.

On 26 March, a press release from the Indian missions in the United States announced that Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders are no longer required to carry their old, expired passports when travelling to India. OCI cards are issued to people of Indian origin and the Indian diaspora, granting them visa-free travel to India, as well as a number of other rights.