EU Council gives green light to Kosovo visa free travel

More than 400 million EU citizens enjoy the freedom of movement in the Schengen area. They can travel, work and live anywhere in the EU. Non-EU nationals living in the EU or visiting the EU as tourists, exchange students or for business purposes can also move freely. Kosovo visa free travel

Visa-free travel for Kosovar passport holders will become a reality on 1 January 2024 at the latest. Following an agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on a proposal by the European Commission, passport holders from Kosovo will be allowed to travel to the EU without a visa, for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period.

Visa-free travel brings key benefits for citizens on both sides, strengthening further the EU relations with Kosovo.

Kosovo has consistently fulfilled all benchmarks and continuously shown its commitment. With this achievement, all Western Balkan partners will soon have visa-free access to the EU.

Already in 2016, the European Commission proposed to the European Parliament and the Council to grant EU visa-free travel for the people of Kosovo. The European Commission assessed that Kosovo fulfilled all requirements since 2018, fulfilling all the benchmarks set in the Visa Liberalisation Roadmap.

Kosovo travel Background Kosovo visa free travel

Kosovo has made significant progress in all blocks of the visa liberalisation roadmap. On the basis of this assessment, the Commission proposed to lift the visa requirement for holders of passports issued by Kosovo. The exemption from the visa requirement will ensure that the whole Western Balkan region is under the same visa regime.

The Commission will continue to actively monitor the implementation of these requirements, including visa policy alignment, through the post-visa liberalisation mechanism.

Visa-free regime with non-EU countries

The EU currently has a visa-free regime in place with 61 non-EU countries, two special administrative regions of China (Hong Kong and Macao) and one territorial authority that is not recognised as a state by at least one EU member state (Taiwan).

Under this regime, non-EU citizens with a biometric passport can enter the Schengen area for short stays without needing a visa.

The principle of visa reciprocity applies. This means that the same visa-free regime applies to EU citizens travelling to those non-EU countries.

Of the 61 non-EU countries with a visa free-regime, 27 have visa waiver agreements with the EU.

In March 2023, the Council agreed on a visa-free regime for Kosovo. The new rules need to be adopted by the European Parliament before entering into force. They will apply by 1 January 2024 at the latest.

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