Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso asked Spain’s King Felipe VI to allow Ecuadorians to travel to Spain visa-free during a meeting between the two last Sunday in Bogotá, Colombia.
The two leaders met during a visit to Bogotá, where they were present to attend the investiture ceremony of Gustavo Petro, who assumed the presidency of Colombia, reports SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Throughout the meeting, which lasted about half an hour, President Lasso and King Felipe VI discussed various bilateral issues, such as improving access and movement of Ecuadorians in the Union European.
“We discussed issues related to bilateral relations and the support that we have always offered from Spain on issues of interest to Ecuador in the European Community. Now, more specifically, the elimination of the Schengen visa for EcuadoriansPresident Lasso told Spanish international news agency EFE.
According to Lasso, the King of Spain was “very responsiveshowing its commitment to support Ecuador, adding that the dialogue for the elimination of visas for Ecuadorians traveling in the Schengen area is progressing.
Mantuve un encuentro con el Rey Felipe VI de España. Dialogamos sobre temas que fortalecerán la relación bilateral impulsando la integración y cooperación entre naciones.🇪🇨🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/LeJr223Z0g
—Guillermo Lasso (@LassoGuillermo) August 7, 2022
Ecuador is one of the many countries in the world whose citizens need a Schengen visa to travel to the Schengen area, which includes 26 European countries, including Spain.
Data from Schengen Visa Statistics shows that in 2021, 29,480 Ecuadorians applied for a Schengen visa, the majority of them, a total of 24,175, for a Spanish Schengen visa. Since each application costs at least €80 to file, Ecuadorians spent at least €2,358,400 on Schengen visa applications in the same year.
However, these numbers are much lower than normal, as before the pandemic the numbers were a few times higher. For example, in 2019, 75,840 Ecuadorians applied for a Schengen visa, of which 56,834 applications were submitted to the Spanish Embassy in Bogotá. The number of applications for 2020 and 2021 has decreased due to the closure of visa processing centers, as well as entry bans put in place by Schengen countries in their attempt to prevent the increase in coronavirus cases on their territory.
President Lasso is not the first Ecuadorian leader to request visa-free travel to Europe for Ecuadorian citizens, as his predecessor Lenín Moreno had also made such requests, but European leaders did not answer the same questions during the Moreno’s tenure.
Now, the Lasso government hopes that the Council and the European Parliament will analyze Ecuador’s request in one of their debates next year.
According to Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Holguín, the country has worked to meet certain requirements in order to achieve visa liberalization with the EU, including here by issuing biometric passports and facilitating the readmission of Ecuadorians who illegally residing in Europe.
Of the 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, citizens of the following 23 can travel visa-free to Spain and the rest of the Schengen countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, Chile , Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela .
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