Government ‘hoping to reach a visa liberalisation agreement with Schengen countries’
The Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been putting efforts in securing a visa liberalisation agreement with the countries of the Schengen area, Schengen Visa Info reported. The website quoted local media reports, which said the country is attempting to secure Schengen visas-on-arrival for its citizens or completely exempt the nationals of Bahrain from the visa requirement.
According to Lawmaker Mohammed Al Buainain, a group of MPs have recently held a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss visa liberalisation with the Schengen countries. He also added that the Foreign Ministry and Interior Ministry will now go on discussions to replace the current Bahraini passports with biometric passports, in order to meet the Schengen rule of granting visa-free entry only to travellers with biometric passports.
Previously, the speaker of the Bahraini House of Representative, Fawzia Zainal, had called on the Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa to push the European Union for the facilitation of visa requirements for Bahraini. Currently, there are 62 world countries under the Schengen visa-free regime, the citizens of which can enter the 26 Schengen countries without obtaining a visa beforehand.
The process of reaching a visa liberalisation agreement with the block can be long and difficult, in particular for countries where human rights violation and corruption are an issue, the website pointed out. “At the beginning of the process, the EU hands a so-called ‘visa liberalisation roadmap’ to the country wishing to gain visa-free access.
“The map contains a number of criteria, sometimes up to a hundred, that the country must meet.” Turkey and Kosovo are two countries still in the process of reaching a visa liberalisation agreement with the EU, despite that the latter received the confirmation of having met all the benchmarks over a year ago.