EU Council Approves Visa-Free Entry for Kosovo Citizens From Jan. 1, 2024

March 9, 2023

EU and Kosovo on road signs on highway
© Marko Bukorovic |

March 7, 2023

The Council of the European Union has adopted its position at first reading regarding visa-free travel for holders of Kosovo’s passports.

The new changes will permit holders of Kosovo’s passport to travel visa-free to EU countries for a period of stay of 90 days in a 180-day period, while according to the Council, the exemption from visa requirement will apply as of the date when the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) becomes effective or from January 1, 2024, “whichever comes first”, reports.

The Council confirmed that the new changes before they can be signed, need to be adopted by the European Parliament as well as published by the European Union’s journal.

“Kosovo has made great efforts to improve its security and migration management and to align its visa policy with that of the European Union. We hope our cooperation in these fields will continue to be fruitful,” the Swedish Minister for Migration, Maria Malmer Stenergard, pointed out.

In addition, the Council has estimated that the Balkan country has made significant progress in all blocks of the visa liberalization roadmap, therefore, based on the assessment, the Commission proposes to abolish the visa requirement for those who hold Kosovo’s passport.

According to the Council, the abolishment of the visa requirements for Kosovo will ensure that the whole Western Balkan territory is under the same visa regime.

The statement notes that the Commission will continue to monitor the implementation of such requirements, taking also into account visa policy alignment, through the post-visa liberalisation mechanism.

Kosovo is attempting to permit its citizens to travel visa-free to EU countries since February 19, 2012, still, the process has not been finished yet, despite the fact that the European Commission estimated in 2018 that the Balkan country met all the requirements in order for this process to be completed.

Last year, France said that Kosovo’s visa liberalisation process should be linked with the functionalisation of ETIAS, and the proposal was also supported by the Czech Presidency of the European Union.

However, recently it was reported that the launch date of ETIAS was once again postponed. The EU Commission’s Spokesperson for Home Affairs, Migration and Internal Security, Anitta Hipper, confirmed that the ETIAS launching date was postponed to 2024, but she stressed that an exact date for the ETIAS go-live is still not available.

Soon after this announcement, there were many questions on whether the postponement of ETIAS would affect Kosovo’s visa liberalisation process or not.

Recently an EU official told that ETIAS launching postponement would not affect the date when Kosovo citizens would be eligible to travel visa-free.


EU Council Approves Visa-Free Entry for Kosovo Citizens From Jan. 1, 2024

Leave a Reply