Visa-Free Countries– A visa is authorization to enter another nation on legal grounds. Travelers won’t always require a visa, as the majority of nations have agreements that let people move freely between them without obtaining a visa.
- Good diplomatic relationship.
- Nationals of the beneficial country are unlikely to illegally overstay in the visa-free country.
- The beneficial country is economically developed.
Visa-Free Agreements in the World
Some of the most recognized visa agreements include the following:
The Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement, which was signed on June 14, 1985, encouraged most European nations to remove their national boundaries to create the “Schengen Area,” a continent without borders. The agreement, which was first signed in Luxemburg by only five EU nations, continues to be one of the largest areas in the world where border controls between members have been eliminated. 27 European countries have signed the Schengen Agreement allowing their citizens to move between member countries visa-free.
These countries are:
- The Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
- Sweden; and
A Schengen visa is an authorisation issued by a Schengen State with a view to:
- an intended stay in the territory of the Schengen States of a duration of no more than 90 days in any 180 days (“short stay visa”),
- transit through the international transit areas of airports of the Schengen States (“airport transit visa”).
2. The US Visa Waiver Program.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in collaboration with the State Department administers the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which enables nationals of 40 countries to visit the United States for up to 90 days for business or vacation without obtaining a visa. In exchange, the 40 nations must allow American citizens and nationals to visit them visa-free for a comparable period for business or tourism. However, they need to be registered in ESTA before entering the country.
These countries are :
- Andorra (1991)
- Australia (1996)
- Austria (1991)
- Belgium (1991)
- Brunei (1993)
- Chile (2014)
- Croatia (2021)
- Czech Republic (2008)
- Denmark (1991)
- Estonia (2008)
- Finland (1991)
- France (1989)
- Germany (1989)
- Greece (2010)
- Hungary (2008)
- Iceland (1991)
- Ireland (1995)
- Italy (1989)
- Japan (1988)
- Korea, Republic of (2008)
- Latvia (2008)
- Liechtenstein (1991)
- Lithuania (2008)
- Luxembourg (1991)
- Malta (2008)
- Monaco (1991)
- Netherlands (1989)
- New Zealand (1991)
- Norway (1991)
- Poland (2019)
- Portugal (1999)
- San Marino (1991)
- Singapore (1999)
- Slovakia (2008)
- Slovenia (1997)
- Spain (1991)
- Sweden (1989)
- Switzerland (1989)
- Taiwan (2012)
- United Kingdom (1988)
Travel under the Visa Waiver Program is restricted to travelers possessing passports with specified security features. Visa Waiver Program requirements are:
- The passport must have a machine-readable zone on the biographic page
- The passport must be an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner.
From April 1, 2016, all travelers must possess an e-passport to use the VWP. An electronic chip is embedded in an improved secure passport, which is known as an e-Passport and is indicated by the symbol. E-Passports are issued by the appropriate passport issuing agency and are required to adhere to international standards for protecting and storing data related to the passport and bearer.
3. Bilateral Agreement between the US and Canada.
The longest border in the world, spanning about 9,000 kilometers, is between Canada and the United States. The efficient and secure movement of people and commodities across the border, which is essential to both nations’ economic competitiveness and prosperity, is managed by close cooperation between the two nations.
Pre-pandemic, it was thought that roughly 400,000 persons each day crossed the border between the United States and Canada, and there are thought to be about 800,000 Canadians residing in the US. Native American tribes from both the United States and Canada live together in large numbers.
By this agreement, US and Canadian citizens can travel across the two countries without a visa by using either; their passport, a border crossing card, or an enhanced driver’s license.
4. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Citizens of the following countries can travel without a visa between members of the GCC, such as:
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates.
Other Visa Free Arrangements are :
- Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Citizens from 15 member states in the ECOWAS can enter without a visa and stay for 90 days. However, visitors must have a valid travel document and a vaccination certificate.
- East African Community. Six East African countries belong to this agreement, and their citizens can travel visa-free in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
- Commonwealth Agreement. Citizens of certain commonwealth countries can enter visa-free in member states.
- The Association of the Southeast Asian Nations. There are ten member states in this agreement allowing their members to travel visa-free across the states.
- Commonwealth of Independent States. This agreement was created after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the citizens of the member states could enter without a visa. Still, there are exceptions between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
- Bilateral Agreement between Nepal and India. Citizens of India and Nepal can travel visa-free between these two countries and live there without a visa.
- Mercosur Agreement. The Mercosur Agreement allows for visa-free travel for citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
You can check to see if your country falls into any of these categories. And if yes, then you are on the path to traveling to the cooperating country or countries on a visa-free arrangement.