EU delegates announced Tuesday, February 4th, that Colombians and Peruvians will no longer need visas to travel within the Schengen area, a collection of 26 European states that have eliminated a number of border regulations to make travel for work and leisure less troublesome. It will take some time to arrange for this administratively, but citizens of Colombia and Peru should expect this new ease in travel regulations to begin within the next several months.
The move signals the continued willingness for officials in the EU to work to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties with Latin American countries who represent an area with a vast potential for economic growth through foreign investment and domestic policy initiatives. Citizens of Colombia and Peru will be permitted to stay up to 90 days without needing a travel visa, though beyond that point traditional applications will be required. As long as the citizens possess a valid passport, they will be able to stay for business, family, or vacation purposes.
MEPs who issued the statement justified the decision by pointing to the December 2012 trade agreement between the two countries and the EU, which fulfill the qualifications for the visa waiver. Originally, the revision of the visa regulation was to include five Caribbean nations (Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago) and 10 pacific island nations (Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), but will now include Colombia, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates.