Senator Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
With immediate effect, Barbadians will now be able to travel to the countries of the European Union in the Schengen area, without requiring a visa.
This follows the signature in Brussels on Thursday, May 28, 2009 by Barbados and the European Community of a short-stay visa waiver agreement.?? Similar agreements were also signed by the European Community with Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis, Mauritius and Seychelles.
The agreement, which was signed by Senator the Honourable Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, for Barbados, will allow Barbadians to visit the countries of the European Union for up to three months in any six month period without a visa.?? Similarly, citizens of the European Union will be able to visit Barbados for the same period without a visa.
The countries of the European Union in the Schengen area to which the agreement applies are: Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Austria, Greece, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Malta, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria. ????????
The agreement covers all categories of persons travelling for purposes of tourism, cultural visits, scientific activities, family visits, and business. This includes journalists, sportspersons and intra-corporate trainees. However, it does not include persons travelling for the purpose of carrying out a paid activity for which a visa would be required.
Barbados will now also negotiate similar bilateral agreements with those states associated with the European Union, namely, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.?? Barbadians will continue to be able to travel to Switzerland without requiring a visa, although a similar bilateral agreement will be negotiated between Barbados and Switzerland which will replace the current visa abolition agreement that exists between the two countries.
The agreement does not cover the overseas territories of France in the Caribbean (Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, St. Barthelemy, St. Martin) and Barbadians will therefore still require a visa to travel to these countries.?? The Government of Barbados will, however, continue the negotiations already underway with the Government of France to conclude an agreement which would remove the visa requirement for Barbadians travelling to the French territories in the Caribbean.
A detailed information sheet on the application of the visa waiver agreement is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade at www.foreign.gov.bb.
(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade)