The Netherlands and the Maldives discussed ways to simplify the Schengen visa application process for Maldivians wishing to visit the Schengen Area.
During a meeting held between the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment and Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Karien van Gennip, and the Vice President of Maldives, Hussain Mohamed Latheef, the facilitation of visa procedures was brought up.
The two officials talked about the measures that could be taken to facilitate the process of obtaining a Schengen visa. Nonetheless, Gennip made no official statement on the matter.
Gennip and Latheef also touched upon other topics, such as their cooperation in the field of tourism and trade. They also pledged to strengthen the existing relationship between the two countries.
The Maldives has been calling for Schengen visa facilitation for years now. In December of last year, the country’s authorities called on the EU to lift the Schengen visa requirements and allow visa-free entry for Maldivians.
Back then, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid, said that this requirement should be dropped without further delay.
Reminding the importance of strengthening the ties between the EU and Maldives, the latter’s authorities said earlier in 2022 that visa-free travel would enhance people-to-people ties between the two sides.
They further said that a visa facilitation agreement would positively impact both parties.
Last year, EU officials applauded the commitment of the Maldives government to protect human rights, consolidate democratic governance, strengthen the rules of law, and implement reforms.
In addition to the above-mentioned, EU officials also reaffirmed their support for Maldives’ endeavours and emphasised the importance of reforms.
While the Maldives authorities discussed the matter with the Dutch authorities, the Netherlands cannot take a decision on its own regarding visa facilitation.
Before the EU decides to impose less strict rules of dropping the visa requirement altogether, the Schengen Member States should take a decision jointly and agree with it.
Currently, citizens of the Maldives are required to obtain a visa in order to be permitted entry into the bloc.
When applying for a Schengen visa, Maldivians need to submit several documents. They need to submit the completed visa application form, proof of having purchased travel health insurance, and proof of having booked a place to stay, among many others.