Visa-free European travel for St Kitts citizens

BASSETERRE, St Kitts, November 28, 2008 – Citizens of St Kitts and Nevis will soon be able to visit several countries in Europe without a visa.

This as the government of the twin-island federation signed a short-term visa waiver agreement with the European Union (EU) in Brussels recently.

“According to the terms of the agreement, anyone who carries a valid St Kitts and Nevis passport will be able to travel to any Schengen country without needing a visa. Holders of valid passports from the EU countries concerned will likewise be able to travel to the Federation without needing a visa,” explained St Kitts and Nevis’ High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, James Williams. Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Commissioner Williams said that the short-term waiver allows persons concerned to stay for up to three months within a six month period following the date of first entry into the territory of each of the member states.

“While it covers France and the Netherlands, it does not cover their dependent territories. This will be covered by a separate agreement. The short term visa waiver agreement does not cover persons entering the member states for the purpose of work,” he added.

The agreement is being handled in phases, the first of which includes not only St Kitts and Nevis, but also Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Mauritius and the Seychelles.
 Director General of the European Commission, Jean Louis de Brouwer described the signing as a historical landmark and a definite plus for the development of relations between the European Union and developing countries.

He gave the assurance that once this signing phase is complete, he would seek approval for the agreement to take immediate effect, while waiting for the final stage of the process to be completed. This could take the form of a provisional implementation and member states will be notified when it materialises.