EU approves Schengen Visa waiver for UAE

The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament, has ratified the agreement between the Parliament and the Greek Presidency of the European Union, on amending the regulations to exempt citizens of the United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Peru and 15 other Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean countries from the requirement of obtaining visa to enter into the unified visa zone of 'Schengen'.

A statement from the European Parliament said: "This exemption should be reciprocated on the basis of agreements signed between the EU and each of these countries. It will start when the bilateral agreement comes into force."

Earlier, the European Parliament had proposed an exemption of UAE citizens from the requirement of obtaining entry visa. It was approved by the Commission and the Cabinet.

Mariya Gabriel, who prepared the report and led the European Parliament group to negotiate with the Presidency of the European Union, said: "The agreement today has double importance as we progress towards expanding the cooperation with those countries, on the other hand we send a positive message to European citizens, clarifying measures on putting non-European countries in the positive list."

Suleiman Hamed Salem Al Mazrouei, Head of the UAE Mission to EU, UAE Ambassador to Belgium, said the achievement is a fruit of huge efforts exerted by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs in line with the directives from Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister.

He added that the procedures for exemption are almost complete.

The EU has a positive list including countries, whose nationals are allowed to enter into EU without visa, and another list for countries, whose nationals must obtain prior entry visa.

The European Parliament is expected to vote for this agreement in April.

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