On September 27, the European Union Commission introduced visa-related proposals concerning The Gambia and Ethiopia.
The Commission acknowledged The Gambia’s progress in readmission cooperation since 2022 and has proposed the removal of the elevated visa fee for its citizens, according to SchengenVisaInfo.com. Consequently, nationals of The Gambia, who had been subject to a €120 visa fee since December 2022, will only be required to pay a maximum of €80 once this measure is revoked.
However, the Commission clarified that the initial set of measures implemented in 2021 would remain in effect. These measures were imposed due to The Gambia’s lack of cooperation in readmitting its nationals who were irregularly staying in the EU.
In 2021, the Commission suspended the possibility of waiving certain documentary evidence requirements for visa applications and also discontinued individual Member States’ ability to waive visa fees for Gambian nationals with diplomatic or service passports. Visa processing time was extended to 45 days for all cases covered by these measures, and multiple-entry visas were suspended.
The objective of these measures is to encourage The Gambia to enhance its cooperation in readmitting illegally staying third-country nationals. The Commission emphasized that these measures are proportionate to the goal they seek to achieve.
In 2021, the EU Commission clarified that the measures imposed on The Gambia do not affect the ability of Gambian nationals to apply for and receive visas. Instead, these measures are intended to encourage Gambian authorities to cooperate in the readmission process.
Furthermore, the Commission has proposed visa-related measures for Ethiopia to strengthen cooperation between the EU and the country regarding readmission.
According to the revised Visa Code, the Commission annually evaluates readmission cooperation with third countries. The Commission maintains ongoing engagement with non-EU nations in accordance with readmission agreements and updates EU Member States on the status of this cooperation.
The Commission’s proposal requires approval by the Council, and upon approval, official statements on the matter are expected to be made by the authorities.