What is the change? Colombia’s visa-free travel agreement with the European Union takes effect today.

What does the change mean? Colombian nationals can travel without a visa to the 26 Schengen Area countries for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. The waiver does not apply to the United Kingdom or Ireland, neither of which is part of the Schengen Area.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Who is affected: Colombian nationals traveling to Schengen Area countries.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will save travelers significant time because they will not be required to obtain visas for short-stay travel.
  • Business impact: Business activities will be permitted on visa-free stays of up to 90 days in a 180-day period. Work activities will still require work authorization.

Background: The EU and Colombia reached the visa-free travel agreement in June, and officials signed a final version of the agreement Wednesday. Although the final text must still be approved by the European Parliament, this step is considered a formality and visa-free travel begins on a provisional basis starting today.

The agreement provides for visa-free travel for business, tourism, cultural visits, scientific activities and family visits, among other types of travel. Paid activity still requires work authorization. While the U.K. and Ireland are not part of the deal, Colombia has reached visa-free travel agreements with Switzerland and Liechtenstein, in addition to the 26 Schengen countries. Nationals of Schengen countries, Switzerland and Liechtenstein already enjoy visa-free travel to Colombia.

BAL Analysis: The agreement is expected to facilitate business and other short-term travel opportunities for Colombian nationals traveling to the Schengen Area.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Colombia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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