EU & Saudi Arabia Hold Discussions on Visa-Free Entry Into Schengen Area for Saudis

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enewspaper.com.pk/EU & Saudi Arabia Hold Discussions on Visa-Free Entry Into Schengen Area for Saudis

Norway, Oslo(By Ahmed Tanveer): The Head of the Visa Policy Section of the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission, Dimitri Giotakos, as well as the Commission’s Technical Dialogue Team, met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Engineer Waleed bin Abdul Karim Al Khuraji, in order to discuss several topics, among them facilitating the entry for Saudi Arabians into Europe. According to the local media report, during the meeting it was discussed the issue of easing the entry of citizens from Saudi Arabia into the borderless area of Schengen without being obliged to apply for a visa at first, as well as the implementation of technical aspects related to this process, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs Ambassador Tamim Al-Dosari, as well as Head of Mission of Saudi Arabia to the European Union Ambassador Saad Al-Arifi and Ambassador of the European Union to the Kingdom Patrick Simonet, were also present at the meeting. Both parties’ authorities expect to soon finalize such an agreement; however it has not been given any specific date when the visa exemption cooperation would be reached or take effect. Besides discussing finding new ways to ease the entry for Saudi Arabian citizens to the Schengen zone countries without a visa, the two parties looked forward to further tightening their relations.

Last month, in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the diplomat stressed that “the European Union is working in parallel with a system to exempt all citizens of the Gulf countries from visas.” The diplomat expressed “his optimism that the Saudis will be able to visit Europe soon without a visa.” The European declarations came about a month after authorities in the United Kingdom announced they would make it easier for Saudi Arabian citizens to electronically secure visas 24 before flying, as Haber Tusba. Authorities from Europe and Saudi Arabia are continuously attempting to ease the travel process for the citizens. Previously, authorities in Saudi Arabia announced that all people who hold a Schengen visa would be permitted to perform umrah without being obliged to obtain a visa from Saudi Arabia beforehand. The decision was announced soon after authorities in Saudi Arabia announced they decided to reinstate the visa-on-arrival scheme for all those who already hold a Schengen Visa. Such new rules mean that all persons with a Schengen Visa are eligible to receive a tourism visa upon entry into Saudi Arabia.

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