The passing of the proposal would strengthen links between the EU and GCC nations
The European Commission has proposed the abolishment of visa requirements for Qatari and Kuwaiti nationals, noting the countries have already met the necessary waiver criteria.
The proposal follows a detailed assessment of irregular migration, public policy and security, economic benefits and the European Union’s relations with Qatar and Kuwait.
Once the EU Council approves the proposal, citizens of both nations will be able to travel to all EU member states for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period for business, tourism and family purposes, without having to apply for a visa.
Commission vice president Josep Borell said: “The final objective is to ensure regional coherence and ultimately achieve visa-free travel for all Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
“Together with our upcoming Joint Communication on the Gulf, this proposal will reinforce the overall partnership and strengthen the cooperation between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council.”
The Commission concluded that Qatar and Kuwait do not represent high risks of irregular migration risks and the countries are open to further cooperation on security issues with the EU.
The countries also represent important economic partners, especially in the area of energy, and both already issue biometric identification documents, which is a requirement for visa-free travel to the EU.
EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said the proposal for visa exemption would not only ease business travel, tourism and family visits to the bloc for Qatar and Kuwait nationals but also facilitate a tighter partnership with Gulf countries including Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
At present, nationals of more than 60 countries and territories are exempt from EU visa requirements.
For more information, visit www.schengenvisainfo.com/visa-calculator