The European Parliament has approved the amendment of a law that will exempt UAE citizens from requiring a Schengen visa, official news agency WAM reported.
The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament ratified the agreement between the Parliament and the Greek Presidency of the European Union on amending the regulations, the report said.
Citizens of the UAE, Colombia, Peru and 15 other Caribbean and Pacific Ocean countries will now be allowed to enter the 25-member Schengen area without visas.
A statement from the European Parliament said: “This exemption should be reciprocated on the basis of agreements signed between the EU and each of these countries. It will start when the bilateral agreement comes into force.”
The visa exemption proposal was earlier approved by the EU Commission and the Cabinet.
WAM quoted Suleiman Hamed Salem Al Mazrouei, head of the UAE Mission to EU, as saying that the achievement required “huge efforts” from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs in line.
He added that the procedures for exemption are almost complete.
Mariya Gabriel, who prepared the report, said, “The agreement has double importance as we progress towards expanding the cooperation with those countries, on the other hand we send a positive message to European citizens, clarifying measures on putting non European countries in the positive list.”
The EU’s “positive list” includes countries whose nationals are allowed to enter into EU without visas.
The decision follows an announcement by the UK (not in the Schengen area) in December, waiving traditional visas for UAE, Qatari and Omani passport holders.
Starting this year, residents of the three Gulf countries can travel to the UK with an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) document, allowing them to visit the country for up to six months without a visa.