Serbia Has Introduced Visas for Cubans, to With EU

Serbia Has Introduced Visas for Cubans, to With EU

HAVANA, Apr. 17th  Since last Saturday, April 15, Cuban passport holders need to apply for a visa in order to enter the territory of Serbia for tourism and business purposes.So far, travelers from this country have been eligible to enter Serbia with only a letter of invitation, without the need to apply for a visa. However, due to mounting pressure from the European Union member states on the government of Serbia to align its visa policy with that of the EU, the country has decided to abolish the visa-free regime with Cuba.

The decision had been confirmed by an official of the Serbian Embassy in Havana to Cuban newspaper Diario De Cuba back in March, reports.

According to Cuban lawyer and activist residing in Belgrade, Fernando Almeyda, in early March, Serbia had already started preparing for the re-imposing of visas for Cubans as “the necessary measures were being taken internally so that this decision enters into effect on that scheduled date or at least close to it.

He also claims that the decision to bring back the visa regime with Cuba was taken due to the increase in the number of entries of Cubans, many of whom were often detained at the Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade due to suspicious reasons for entry.

Since the autumn of last year, Serbia has reintroduced visas for a dozen of third countries after EU-wide criticism for not aligning its visa policy with that of the EU, as a candidate country that it is.

Serbia has to adapt its visa practice to the EU if it wants to become an accession candidate,” the German Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, had said in October last year.

In the same month, asked about the issue, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, hadn’t excluded the possibility the EU suspending the visa-free agreement with Serbia, if its government does not scrap the visa-free arrangements it has with some third countries.

I do hope, and I do think that Serbia and other Western Balkan partners will cooperate with us and align their visa policy with the EU. But of course, this is nothing that I will exclude,” the Commissioner had said at the time.

Currently, Serbia’s current visa-free list includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, China, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Suriname, and Türkiye. For many of these countries, visa-free regime is “a gift” by the Serbian authorities for not recognizing the independence of the Republic of Kosovo.

In a recent report the EU border agency, Frontex, has pointed out that a drop in the number of irregular migrants reaching Europe from the Western Balkan route has been marked in recent weeks. The agency attributes the drop in irregular migrants to two factors, the reinforcement of border control capacities by Hungary, and the visa-policy alignments in the region with the EU.