Colombians will be able to travel to Europe without visa from December 3 onward, President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Tuesday.
According to the Colombian head of state, countries that signed the Schengen pact will grant Colombian visitors a three-month tourist visa on entry, no longer demanding a time-costly procedure at one of the country’s embassies in Bogota.
Santos met with Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi in Bogota, after which the Colombian president announced the final date for the Schengen countries’ ending of visa requirements.
“This will be a reality on December 3,” said Santos at a joint press conference with Italy’s PM.
According to the Colombian president, the European Commission approved the visa exemption on Monday.
The European Union’s ambassador in Colombia, Ana Paula Zacarias, would not confirm to December 3 deadline, claiming Tuesday that “we’re in constant dialogue with the Colombian government and our office in Brussels to set a date.”
Diplomatic sources have told Colombia Reports that the visa exemption has mainly been pushed by Spain, home to hundreds of thousands of Colombians.
Within Europe, there still exist fears that a more lenient visa procedure could spur illegal migration. However, for Colombians who want and can afford to travel to Europe, the unilateral visa demands are not just time-consuming, but also often humiliating.