June’s Visa-Free Digest

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

AustraliaFranceItalyNorth MacedoniaUnited Arab Emirates
AustriaGeorgiaKazakhstanPolandUnited Kingdom
BulgariaGermanyKosovoRussiaUnited States
CanadaHungaryLithuaniaSierra Leone
DenmarkIranMexicoSouth Korea
EstoniaIraqMoldovaSpain
European UnionIrelandNetherlandsTurkey

Europe

Named relevant countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, European Union, France, Georgia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Moldova, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Spain

On 10 May, President Salome Zurabishvili of Georgia visited North Macedonia, where she and President Stevo Pendarovski of North Macedonia signed a visa-free travel agreement for citizens of the two countries.

On 18 May, at a meeting with leaders of the six Western Balkans countries, Josep Borrell, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, asserted that visa liberalisation for Kosovo is “long overdue.” He emphasised that the country has met all the criteria and stressed the need to make progress on the issue. France and the Netherlands, however, continue to oppose visa liberalisation for citizens of Kosovo due to issues with the rule of law and crime and corruption.

On 20 May, organisers of the UEFA European Championship announced that foreign football fans will be able to enter Russia visa-free with Fan-IDs to watch the matches this summer, provided they can show official documents stating negative Covid-19 test results.

Covid-19 Responses

On 8 May, the Government of Ireland removed Austria and Italy from its list of countries from which arrivals are subject to mandatory hotel quarantine.

On 29 May, authorities in Denmark allowed restriction-free arrivals from the following two countries and eight regions of the European Union: Bulgaria; Poland; Lower Austria and Salzburg in Austria; Corsica in France; Liguria, Abruzzo, Veneto, and Umbria in Italy; and Cantabria in Spain.

On 31 May, the Foreign Minister of Hungary confirmed that travellers from Hungary and Moldova who are vaccinated can travel between the two countries without being subject to entry restrictions.

Middle East

Named relevant countries: Iran, Iraq, Russia

On 18 May, the Tourism Minister of Iran, Ali-Asghar Mounesan, and the Ambassador for Russia, Levan Dzhagaryan, discussed the practical implementation of the two countries’ signed visa-free agreement for tourist groups. The Russian Ambassador stated that the necessary measures are underway for implementation of the visa waiver scheme.

On 25 May, a senior Foreign Ministry official in Iran revealed that the Iranian Cabinet has agreed to remove visa requirements for citizens of Iraq as soon as the Government of Iraq agrees to remove visa restrictions for Iranian citizens. He said that, on the day Iraq adopts a similar policy, Iraqi citizens will become exempt from visa requirements in Iran.

Asia

Named relevant countries: Australia, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mexico, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

Covid-19 Responses

On 1 May, South Korea launched its electronic travel authorisation (ETA) system for nationals of 21 out of 112 visa waiver countries. Under the system, nationals from the 21 visa waiver countries, including Ireland, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States, must obtain an ETA at least 24 hours prior to boarding a plane or ship headed to South Korea.

On 4 May, the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan announced that it had extended the country’s suspension of visa-free visits for citizens of 54 out of the 57 countries that were granted visa-free travel in 2012, including citizens of Australia, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Citizens of South Korea, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates are exempt from the ban.

Africa

Named relevant countries: Russia, Sierra Leone

On 17 May, the Foreign Minister of Sierra Leone and the Foreign Minister of Russia signed a visa waiver agreement for holders of diplomatic and service passports travelling between the two countries.