*** UPDATE (28 May, 2015): the agreement has been signed. See the official press release.
Citizens of Dominica will no longer require a Schengen visa for a short stay visit up to 90 days for business, family and touristic purposes in Europe.
European Commission proposes visa-free travel to citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica, among 19 Nations in the Caribbean, Pacific, and the Middle East added to the list of countries and territories exempt from the visa obligation.
A visa waiver will be offered to citizens of Colombia, Dominica, Grenada, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Peru, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Vanuatu..
Currently, nationals of the listed counties, including Dominica, have to travel abroad to apply for a Schengen visa due to the lack of consular presence in most of these countries. Visa exemption makes it much easier for them to plan trips to the EU countries and reduce the costs of travelling.
Nationals of Dominica and other 18 countries on the proposed list will be able to conveniently travel to countries of the Schengen area, as well as to Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania. Currently, the Schengen Area includes the territory of 22 European Union countries and associated countries.
“It will have a direct impact on citizens of these countries and on EU citizens, in the form of more people-to-people contacts and business opportunities”, said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
These changes notably increase the prestige and demand for the Dominica citizenship program allowing to obtain citizenship through investment in the shortest possible time (3-4 months) with reasonable investment requirements (US$ 100,000-200,000 as the case might be).
The visa exemption proposal is expected to be reciprocated through agreements with these countries to ensure a visa free regime for all EU citizens and some categories of British citizens currently under the visa obligation. Now it is the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union who are to consider and finally approve the Commission proposal, which is expected to happen in the nearest time.
Official source: “A smarter visa policy to facilitate tourism to the EU”. europa.eu. 7 November 2012.
Official source: The Permanent Representatives Committee confirms agreement on list of non-EU countries whose nationals are exempt from the visa requirement. consilium.europa.eu. 5 February 2014.
Official source: Visa-free travel for the nationals of 19 third countries moves one step closer. europa.eu. 27 February 2014.