The European Union has recently signed visa waiver agreements with Timor Leste (East Timor), the Caribbean countries of St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Oceanic countries of Samoa and Vanuatu. The agreements will now allow nationals of the countries to enter the Schengen Area without requiring a visa. These agreements are being enforced on a provisional basis and will become permanent upon ratification by the European Parliament and the individual parliaments of the constituent states.

The agreements do not apply to the United Kingdom and Ireland as they are not parties to the Schengen Agreement. Further, the agreements do not automatically apply to Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein as they are not parties to the European Union. Rather, these non-EU countries are expected to sign separate visa waiver agreements with these eight countries to keep in line with the Schengen Area’s uniform visa policy across the individual member-states.

Pursuant to the agreements, the nationals of these eight countries will be allowed to enter the Schengen Area for short visits which must be limited to 90 days over any 180-day period. Permitted activities will include business, tourism, sports, artistic performances, and certain types of intra-company training. The agreements do not permit visitors to the Schengen Area to work without the appropriate work authorization.

The complete Schengen Area consists of the following countries:

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With further visa waiver agreements expected to be signed with Peru, Colombia, Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey in 2015, Foster will continue to follow global immigration regulations, agreements and their implementation and will provide updates via our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.