President Santos announced today that from December 3, 2015 Colombians will be able to travel visa-free to the 26 Schengen countries. The news came during a visit from the current President of the Council of Europe, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Santos will go to Brussels in December and sign the agreement after attending the World Climate Summit (COP21) in Paris.
He said, “After the COP21, I am going to go to sign the document, which is the final step, and after that moment, Colombians will be able to enter the 26 countries of Europe without visas. For us, that is of great importance.”
Colombians will be able to spend up to 90 days during a 180 day period in Schengen countries without needing a visa.
It is important to note that Colombians will continue to need a visa to visit the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, as they are not part of the Schengen zone.
Some important things to remember when travelling to Europe:
- As with all border travel in the world, the lifting of visa restrictions doesn’t mean you have an automatic right to enter Europe. While visas are not required, each member state will make a decision on a case-by-case basis.
- You CAN carry out a short stay for reasons of: tourism, family visits, cultural exchanges, sports events, business meetings, medical treatment, study and journalism.
- During your stay you CANNOT work, look for work, nor apply for a work or resident visa.
- You MUST have a machine-readable passport that is valid for at least three months after your scheduled date of departure.
- You MUST have a return ticket, a hotel reservation or invitation from a friend and be able to show you have sufficient money to support yourself during your stay.
- You CAN enter the Schengen zone multiple times, however your stays shouldn’t exceed 90 days in a 180 day period.
- You CAN travel among member states, however there may be some border controls so it is important you keep your passport with you at all times.
- If you stay more the 90 days you will be in violation of immigration rules and may be fined or even deported. This can affect how easily you can get visas or travel internationally, not just in the Schengen zone.
By Daniel Steel