The Serbian government has introduced entry visas for another third country, following pressure by the European Union authorities, for aligning its visa policy with that of the EU.
Since February 10, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has imposed visa requirement for holders of ordinary passports and for holders of diplomatic and official passports of Bolivia, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The move has been revealed by the Embassy of Serbia in Bolivia, in early February.
“As of February 10, 2023 holders of all types of Bolivian passports need a visa to enter the Republic of Serbia,” the statement simply reads, without giving any reasons behind the move.
The reintroduced visa measure for Bolivians is just another in a chain of decisions to reintroduce visas for travellers from other third countries to enter Serbia, due to EU pressure.
As an EU candidate country, Serbia is obliged to align its visa policy with that of the EU. However, the country has quite a longer list than the EU of other third-countries the nationals of which they permit to enter visa-free the territory of Serbia.
The list currently includes countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, China, Cuba, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Suriname, and Türkiye. For the majority of them visa-free access to Serbia is “a gift” by the Serbian government for not recognising the Republic of Kosovo as an independent country.
The EU has intensified the pressure on Serbia to introduce visas for these countries as they also claim that the citizens of some of them are using Serbia to reach Europe and illegally enter its territory. In 2022, the EU witnessed the highest number of asylum applications since 2016, with nearly one million applications being accepted by the asylum reception centres throughout the Member States.
“Serbia has to adapt its visa practice to the EU if it wants to become an accession candidate,” the Minister of Interior of Germany, Nancy Faeser, had said last October, after Frontex data revealed that in the month of September alone 19,160 people were detected illegally reaching the EU through the Western Balkan.
Many other EU officials joined Faeser in their request, as a resect of which, as of November 20, 2022, travellers from Tunisia and Burundi cannot enter Serbia visa-free anymore.
Whereas since January 1, 2023, citizens of India and Guinea-Bissau are also no longer permitted to enter Serbia without obtaining a travel visa first.
Visa-free entry into Serbia may further be scrapped for more nationals of third countries, in particular countries like Belarus, Cuba, and Suriname.
>> Germany Warns Serbia to Change Visa Practice if It Hopes to Join the EU