The European Union and Ecuador are working to eliminate the Schengen visa, which is presently required for Ecuadorian nationals who intend to visit the Schengen region for short periods of time.
Ecuadorians will be allowed to travel visa-free to any of the Schengen nations, including France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Austria, thanks to the elimination of Schengen visa restrictions for Ecuadorians.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister, Mauricio Montalvo, stated in early September 2021 that they will continue to negotiate the visa exemption for Ecuadorians visiting Europe in all diplomatic forums.
EUROPE SUPPORTS VISA EXEMPTION FOR ECUADORIANS
In 2019, Ecuador has the backing of 12 European Union nations, as well as the verbal agreement of two additional member states, to abolish the visa by the end of that year. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs José Valencia discussed it at the time.
The Netherlands also indicated support for the abolition of the Schengen visa for Ecuador in July 2019. This was something that French President Emmanuel Macron backed at the time, claiming that Ecuador’s proposal appeared “reasonable.”
In 2019, Ylva Johansson, the newly appointed European Commissioner for Home Affairs, stated that “Ecuador has done everything necessary politically speaking” to get Schengen visa exemption for its people.
“It has received backing from a number of nations, particularly Spain, which plays a critical role in Europe’s connection with Latin America,” she added.
She did, however, point out that the exception requires the participation of the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament.
Furthermore, Minister Montalvo recently revealed that Europe is currently hesitant to abolish the Schengen visa owing to the COVID-19 scenario.
EXTENSION OF SCHENGEN VISAS FOR ECUADORIANS AS A TEMPORARY MEASURE
On the other hand, the European Union’s ambassador in Ecuador, Charles-Michel Geurts, reported in April 2021 that the consulates of some Schengen countries are working to extend the validity of visas for Ecuadorians from two to four years.
The ambassador informed the media, as cited by etiasvisatoeu.com, that this would allow Ecuadorians to have “many entry” into the territory.
Geurts also stated that Ecuador has complied with the implementation of the biometric passport, which will be distributed beginning in October 2021.
According to the ambassador, this is one of the most important requirements for Ecuadorians to obtain a Schengen visa exemption.
ECUADOR REQUESTING VISA EXEMPTION FROM EUROPE
Ecuador has been negotiating with the European Union for the last five years on a visa-free travel deal for its nationals.
The request to be exempt from the Schengen visa for short-term travel from Ecuador was made for the first time in 2016, but no good response was received at the time.
Ecuador signed a Multilateral Trade Agreement late in 2017, after Peru and Colombia, in the hope that the visa requirement would be lifted, but to no avail.
“It was unfortunate that Ecuador did not sign the Multiparty Treaty with Europe in a timely way, since we would have been excluded from the visa requirement as well. And, sadly, the existing situation of events did not assist us “Luis Montalvo, Ecuador’s recently appointed Foreign Minister, said.
Lenn Moreno, the then-president of the Republic of Ecuador, revealed in January 2018 that the formal request had been made anew through the Spanish government.
Then, in 2019, talks with the EU were restarted in order to achieve the abolition of the visa requirement for Ecuadorians travelling to Europe. The exemption request was presented before Commissioner Ylva Johansson by the Foreign Minister at the time, Luis Gallegos.
The new Ecuadorian Foreign Minister, Luis Montalvo, stated at the start of September 2021 that they will continue to negotiate with the EU in all diplomatic cases and that they will “appeal to the understanding” of the European authorities.
WHY ISN’T ECUADOR EXEMPT FROM THE EU VISA?
Charles-Michel Geurts, the ambassador of the EU delegation in Ecuador, recently explained why Ecuador is not one of the nations free from requiring a Schengen visa to travel to Europe.
According to the ambassador, Ecuador’s decision to withdraw from discussions with the EU in July 2009, together with Colombia and Peru, meant that the country did not gain from visiting the bloc without a visa.
Geurts reiterated this point, saying, “It was regrettable on Ecuador’s side that it did not discuss the process of abolishing the visa requirement concurrently with Colombia and Peru.”
Ecuador’s neighbours did complete the discussions and conclude a trade deal with the EU in June 2012. This pact between Colombia and Peru came to an end with the removal of the obligation for Colombians and Peruvians to get a Schengen visa.
Indeed, Colombians have been permitted to enter 26 of the European Union’s member nations since December 2015, and Peruvians have been able to do so since March 2016.
WILL ECUADORIANS TRAVEL TO THE EU WITHOUT A VISA?
If the Schengen visa requirement for Ecuadorians is removed, Ecuadorians will be free to travel to the Schengen zone without a visa as long as their visits are for tourism or business and do not exceed 90 days.
Except for Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador, inhabitants of most Latin American nations have access to this benefit.
DO YOU NEED A VISA TO VISIT SPAIN FROM ECUADOR IN 2021?
Given the significant Ecuadorian presence in Spain, this is a topic that many Ecuadorian nationals ask themselves. The answer is that they do, for the time being, require a Schengen visa.
However, Spain is investigating the prospect of devising mechanisms to expedite the issuance of longer-term visas to Europe from Ecuador as a stopgap solution until the condition is eliminated, according to Elena Madrazo, Spain’s ambassador in Ecuador.
The longer-term visa allows the applicant to “not have to travel every year to renew their visa,” but it is still a procedure, according to the diplomat.
This would remove what many Ecuadorians see as a bureaucratic impediment to the reunification of thousands of family members living between Ecuador and Spain.
As of January 2021, Spain had a community of around 131,000 Ecuadorians living there.
VISA EXEMPTION WILL OPEN THE DOORS TO ETIAS FOR ECUADORIANS
Ecuador will become an ETIAS eligible country if the visa requirement is lifted. This means that Ecuadorians will need to apply for the ETIAS visa exemption once it becomes available.
ETIAS is a travel authorization that the European Union is developing and intends to implement by November 2023. It will be available to citizens of more than 50 countries who will be able to travel to the Schengen Area without a visa.
Ecuadorian citizens must meet the ETIAS requirements, which include having a valid biometric passport and completing an online form to obtain a visa waiver.
The Ecuadorian national authorities think that eliminating the Schengen visa will benefit both Ecuador and the European Union since it will bring economic, social, cultural, and political benefits for both sectors.