September’s Visa-Free Digest

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

AfghanistanFinlandLithuaniaRussia
AlbaniaFranceLuxembourgSerbia
AustriaGeorgiaMauritiusSlovakia
BelgiumGermanyMoldovaSlovenia
Bosnia and HerzegovinaGhanaMontenegroSweden
CanadaHungaryNamibiaSt Kitts and Nevis
CroatiaIrelandNetherlandsUkraine
Czech RepublicIsraelNorth MacedoniaUnited Arab Emirates
DenmarkItalyPakistanUnited Kingdom
EstoniaLatviaPolandUnited States

Europe

Named relevant countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom

On 4 August, the European Commission issued a report assessing whether five Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia – and three Eastern Partnership countries – Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine – continue to meet the requirements for visa liberalisation. The report showed that, despite a drop in illegal border crossings, improvement in migration management is needed in some Western Balkan nations. However, on the whole, the countries assessed in the report continue to meet the requirements for visa liberalisation.

On 4 August, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport in the United Kingdom released a statement confirming that United Kingdom musicians and performers do not need visas for short-term tours in 19 European Union Member States. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden. Trade union, BECTU, responded by saying that, while visa-free access for short-term tours is a step in the right direction, more must be done to guarantee free movement for touring professionals across all EU member states, for both long and short-term tours.

On 26 August, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved an order on the signing of an agreement between Ukraine and Mauritius on the mutual abolition of visa requirements. The signing of the agreement marks the first step towards a visa waiver for citizens of the two countries, after which Ukraine and Mauritius must sign the agreement and proceed with implementation. The agreement will provide for mutual visa-free travel for stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Caribbean

Named relevant countries: St Kitts and Nevis, United Kingdom

Covid-19 Responses

On 31 August, St Kitts and Nevis ended travel restrictions for international travellers from the United Kingdom and began welcoming fully vaccinated international air passengers from the United Kingdom on 1 September.

Americas

Named relevant countries: Canada, Croatia, Israel, United States

On 2 August, United States Government official, Secretary Antony Blinken, announced via Twitter that he nominated Croatia to join the Visa Waiver Programme. “This step towards visa-free travel recognises Croatia’s tremendous progress to meet the rigorous standards for participant countries,” he said.

On 27 August, at a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Bennett of Israel and United States President, Joe Biden, Biden stated that the two countries would direct their efforts towards Israel fulfilling the requirements of the Visa Waiver Programme “and get that done.”

Covid-19 Responses

On 9 August, Canada opened its borders to citizens and permanent residents of the United States, provided two weeks have passed since their second vaccination. Despite this, the United States continues to implement restrictions on the Canadian border.

Asia

Named relevant countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan

On 6 August, the Taliban in Afghanistan closed a key border crossing with Pakistan, stating that the border would remain closed until Pakistan scrapped visa requirements for Afghan nationals. The border crossing has since been reopened. The closure could have impacted the import of medicines and other essential goods.

Africa

Named relevant countries: Ghana, Namibia, Russia, United Arab Emirates

On 2 August, an agreement on visa-free travel for citizens of Namibia and Russia entered into effect, allowing citizens of Russia to stay in Namibia on a visa-free basis for stays of 90 days in any 180-day period. The same rights were also granted to Namibian citizens visiting Russia.

On 5 August, the Parliament of Ghana approved a Memorandum of Understanding between Ghana and the United Arab Emirates on the mutual exemption of visa requirements in respect of ordinary, diplomatic, and service/special passport holders. However, as of 9 August, the processes for its implementation had not yet been completed.