Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and top European Union officials on Wednesday signed an agreement to exempt Colombians from having to request a visa before traveling to Europe.
The exemption has long been requested by Colombia, whose citizens have to go through lengthy and sometimes humiliating procedures in order to be allowed entry to the 26 countries that signed the open-border Schengen pact.
The exemption will come into force on Thursday.
While no visa is required, Colombians are still required to demonstrate on entry that they have a return ticket and the financial means or sponsor to support their stay in the “old world.”
The signing of the agreement marked “a historic day,” said Santos.
“Today’s event is a very important step to recover, in a certain way, our dignity, which we have lost or at least has been mistreated with the process of having to request a visa for each country in Europe every time we visited,” a visibly content Santos said.
“Colombia is celebrating today,” the head of state added.