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Visa requirements for nationals of Non-EU Member Countries

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The Union has drawn up a common list of the Non-EU Member Countries whose nationals must be in possession of a visa when crossing the Member States' external frontiers, with a view to harmonising Member States' visa policies.

ACT

Council Regulation (EC) No 574/1999 of 12 March 1999 determining the Non-EU Member Countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders of the Member States [See amending acts].

SUMMARY

The present Regulation sets out a list of 101 countries whose nationals must be in possession of a visa when crossing the external borders of the Member States.

For the purposes of the Regulation, "visa" means an authorisation given or a decision taken by a Member State which is required for entry into its territory with a view to:

  • an intended stay in that Member State or in several Member States of no more than three months in all;
  • transit through the territory of that Member State or several Member States, except for transit through the international zones of airports and transfers between airports in a Member State (airport transit).

Member States are free to decide whether or not to require visas of nationals of Non-EU Member Countries not on the common list and of stateless persons and recognised refugees. The measures taken under these arrangements are to be communicated to the Commission and published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

A Member State may exempt from visa requirements:

  • civilian air and sea crew;
  • flight crew and attendants on emergency or rescue flights and other helpers in the event of disaster or accident;
  • holders of diplomatic passports, official duty passports and other official passports.

The Regulation allows further harmonisation between individual Member States, going beyond the common list.

Subsequent amendments

Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the Non-EU Member Countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement replaced Regulation (EC) No 574/1999. Under the new Regulation, nationals of Non-EU Member Countries listed in Annex I must be in possession of a visa when crossing the external borders of the Member States. Colombia, the Palestinian Authority and East Timor have been added to this list.

Nationals of Non-EU Member Countries on the list in Annex II do not need to be in possession of a visa when crossing the external borders of the Member States. Countries on this list include the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao, as well as Bulgaria and Romania.

On 7 December 2001, on the basis of the report presented by the Commission on 29 June 2000, the Council adopted Regulation (EC) No 2414/2001 amending Regulation (EC) No 539/2001, from which the provisions temporarily requiring Romanian citizens to be in possession of a visa were dropped. In accordance with the Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland annexed to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty establishing the European Community, those two Member States did not take part in the adoption of this Regulation.

Council Regulation (EC) No 453/2003 of 6 March 2003 subsequently amended Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 to include Ecuador on the list of Non-EU Member Countries whose nationals are required to be in possession of a visa.

Council Regulation (EC) No 851/2005 of 2 June 2005 amended Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 as regards the reciprocity mechanism. The mechanism provided for by the latter was unsuited to situations of non-reciprocity where a country listed in Annex II to the Regulation (Non-EU Member Countries whose nationals are exempt from the visa requirement) maintains or introduces a visa requirement for nationals of one or more Member States. Solidarity with the relevant Member States means that the mechanism must be adapted and made more effective.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 574/9919.3.1999-OJ L 72 of 18.3.1999

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Regulation (EC) No 539/200110.4.2001-OJ L 81 of 21.3.2001
Regulation (EC) No 2414/20011.1.2002-OJ L 327 of 12.12.2001
Regulation (EC) No 453/20032.4.2003-OJ L 069 of 13.3.2003
Regulation (EC) No 851/200524.6.2005-OJ L 141 of 4.6.2005
Decision (EC) no 2006/6841.11.2006-OJ L 280 of 12.10.2006
Regulation (EC) No 193219.1.2007-OJ L 405 of 30.12.2006

RELATED ACTS

Commission communication pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the Non-EU Member Countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement [Official Journal C 363 of 19.12.2001].

Council Regulation (EC) No 789/2001 of 24 April 2001 reserving to the Council implementing powers with regard to certain detailed provisions and practical procedures for examining visa applications [Official Journal 116 of 26.4.2001].

Council Regulation (EC) No1683/95of 29 May 1995 laying down a uniform format for visas [Official Journal L 164 of 14.7.1995].

Council Decision (EC) No 2003/585 of 28 July 2003 amending Annex 2, Schedule A, of the Common Consular Instructions and Annex 5, Schedule A, of the Common Manual on the visa requirements for holders of Pakistani diplomatic passports [Official Journal 198 of 06.08.2003].

Council Decision of 5 October 2006 amending Annex 2, Schedule A, to the Common Consular Instructions on the visa requirements for holders of Indonesian diplomatic and service passports [Official Journal L 280 12.10.2006].

Council Regulation (EC) No 1932/2006 of 21 December 2006 amending Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 listing the Non-EU Member Countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement [Official Journal L 405 of 30.12.2006].


This Regulation imposes the visa requirement for nationals of Bolivia.

It removes visa requirements for:

  • nationals of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Mauritius, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the Seychelles;
  • nationals of thirds countries holding a local border traffic card issued by a Member State;
  • schoolchildren residing in a Member State who have the nationality of a Non-EU Member Country whose nationals require a visa;
  • British citizens who are not nationals of the United Kingdom (British Nationals (Overseas));
  • members of the armed forces travelling on NATO business.
 
Last updated: 01.08.2007
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