The Foreign Minister of Ecuador, Juan Carlos Holguín, indicated on October 18, 2022 that he spoke about the exemption of the tourist visa for Ecuadorians during a dialogue with a United Kingdom authority. This October 17, 2022, this country decided not to require that visa from Colombian citizens.
“We made up for lost time for a decade. Today we spoke with the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Foreign Relations) of the United Kingdom, Jesse Norman, about the commercial relationship, security issues, the progress of the visa exemption and our coordination for the Security Council”, Holguín highlighted. on his Twitter account.
This exemption was confirmed on the night of October 17 by the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, on his Twitter: “I thank the United Kingdom for its decision to remove the tourist visa requirement for Colombian visitors.”
Holguín did not publish more details and the Foreign Ministry did not reveal any more information regarding the matter. However, experts say that Ecuador has delayed in managing the exemption of this visa and the one required to enter the Schengen area .
Marcelo Fernández de Córdova, former Vice Foreign Minister of Ecuador, says that the exemption of the tourist visa for Colombia is good news for the mobilization of its citizens. But “for Ecuador we continue to talk about the need to withdraw visa requirements to enter the countries of the European Community and in this case for the United Kingdom, unfortunately so far there has been no positive result,” he adds.
Ecuador should also remove the requirement of this tourist visa, says international analyst Carlos Estarellas, because both countries have similar situations. If Colombia with its drug trafficking and terrorism problems managed it, Ecuador can do it, he believes.
The former foreign minister explains that each country decides to allow or not the entry of citizens of other nations because they are sovereign acts, but it is difficult to know what reasons the United Kingdom may have for not granting the privilege of exemption to Ecuador . “If the country does not want to explain, it simply does not give way to the request of another country,” he says.
This type of process can take time or be fast and implies reciprocity between both countries, that is, they do not require a visa to enter, he says. “We would have to ask ourselves if the steps that Ecuador has taken have been adequate”, points out the former foreign minister . For him, Holguin ‘s tweet is a “very general and very vague” statement.
The exception of this visa is used to travel , without presenting this document, to countries that make up the Schengen area. These are 26 European countries that agreed to abolish controls on their common borders. These include Spain and Poland, but not the UK. This in turn is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Regarding the exoneration of the Schengen visa for Ecuador, Estarellas considers that it has been extended because Ecuador signed a trade agreement with the European Union (EU) late. This agreement occurred in 2013 between the EU, Colombia and Peru. That precedent opened the way for the exemption.
“In the Government of Rafael Correa we took a long time, when we signed the Treaty there was no longer an exemption,” laments the analyst.
Fernández de Córdova suspects that one reason why visa exemptions are difficult is that in recent years many Ecuadorians want to leave the country . “Arriving in a country that doesn’t require a visa makes it easier for them to enter and then they stay legally,” he says.
Estarellas points out that one of the advantages of visa exemption is that travel procedures and the costs they represent are reduced.