Kuwaiti officials say that the Gulf country is in talks with the European Union over a possible exemption of the Kuwaiti citizens from the Schengen visa requirement to travel to Europe.
The Deputy Foreign Minister of Kuwait Khaled al-Jarallah said at the beginning of this week that the country is continuing its efforts with the European Union in a bid to exempt its citizens from entry visas to Schengen countries.
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“Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs is always keen in his contacts and meetings with his counterparts from the European Union to discuss this file, there are steps that have been achieved in this regard,” Deputy Minister Jarallah told to Kuwaiti media.
He also said that a possible agreement on visa-free regime with Kuwait and the EU was discussed during a meeting of the Kuwait officials with the EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, during a recent visit of the latter to Kuwait.
The EU High Representative Federica Mogherini was present at the opening ceremony of the EU Delegation to Kuwait, which is the third EU mission in the Gulf region after the office of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi.
According to Deputy Khaled al-Jarallah, the topic of visa liberalization with the EU is always the main subject being discussed in meetings with EU officials, adding that Kuwait will continue its efforts to achieve this through pressure and positive action.
The Schengen visa is one of the world’s most powerful visas, permitting its holder to travel to the 26 Schengen countries, 22 of them part of the EU. Despite there are 62 world countries that have reached a visa-free regime with the EU, and their citizens can travel to the area visa-free, only one Arab country is listed among them.
If Kuwait reaches such an agreement with the EU, it will be the second Arab country in the list, after the United Arab Emirates. Bahraini government recently announced that they are in an attempt to reach a visa-free agreement with the EU as well.
According to Schengen Visa statistics, the Schengen consulates located in Kuwait received 174,765 visa applications in 2018. While 164,742 of these applications received a positive answer, the remaining 4.9% were rejected from getting a Schengen Visa.
The number of applications in 2018 resulted to be 5% higher than in 2017, when there were 166,498 applications received. The rejection rate in 2017 was 4.7%.
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