Citizens of Grenada will no longer require a Schengen visa for a short stay visit up to 90 days during a 180-day period for business, family and touristic purposes in Europe as the European Commission has proposed visa-free travel to Grenada and 18 other countries within the Caribbean, Pacific, and the Middle East regions.
The Visa Waiver allows Grenadians to enjoy Visa-free access to twenty-two Schengen States including Austria, France, Germany and Spain.
The agreement will also allow citizens from the participating European states to visit Grenada without a visa.
According to Foreign Affairs Minister, Clarice Modeste-Curwen, Grenada is expected to join the other participating countries “in Brussels on May 28 to sign the agreement that will facilitate hassle free travel among the various citizens of the participating states.
“So it means that as (of) the 29th, citizens from Grenada would be
able to travel (to) the Schengen countries” and vice-versa”, Minister Modeste-Curwen told a recent sitting of Parliament.
The female government Minister cited the “critical importance” of the new development “to our country our citizens.”
“This is something that we have worked very hard for as a government,” Minister Modeste-Curwen said, noting that “there are only about two or three countries in the region that already have such an agreement.”
“So that would put us on a level playing field with them…because sometimes the visa process can be very tedious and time consuming and very costly for persons…therefore this is a big step for our people.” she added.
The Foreign Affairs Minister also pointed to the many benefits that could be derived from such an agreement including “enhanced travel for business persons”.
“I know a number of persons do business in Europe, a lot of our equipment come from Germany, which is highly regarded for certain equipment as well as the importation of cars,” et cetera”, she said.
Minister Modeste-Curwen also stated that the agreement paves the way for the enhancement of the Citizen by Investment Programme (CBI), a key component of the two year old New National Party (NNP) government to help raise revenue for the cash-strapped economy.
She said the passport selling scheme programme “is expected to generate good income revenue so that we can take care of our needs.”
According to the senior government minister and Member of Parliament for St. Mark, the Keith Mitchell-led government in St. George’s is looking to CBI “to provide financing so that we can take care of our needs in the various areas including sports, education and road infrastructure just to name a few”.
“So it is extremely critical for us. Certainly the visa waiver would enhance the access of persons who are interested in the Citizen by Investment Programme,” she told Parliament.
Minister Modeste-Curwen informed the House of Representatives that plans are in the making by government to embark upon a local sensitisation drive to educate the populace on this new development with the visa free travel to Europe.
“Within the next few weeks, the ministry would intensify its educational programme so that our citizens would be fully informed (about) this visa waiver”, she said.
The minister expressed optimism that persons who take advantage of the opportunities under the visa waiver would return home once their time in the Schengen country expires.
“I don’t think that should be difficult because…we have a beautiful country here and I believe that almost everyone would want to return but just in case I want to implore everyone to learn the regulations and to adhere to it.”