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Aug 16, 2023

A Visa Waiver for Belizeans to Europe?

Eamon Courtenay

Belizeans who wish to visit Europe have to travel to Mexico in order to apply for a Schengen visa. But those who have Europe on their travel list in the future will be relieved to learn that Belize has been discussing with the European Commission and member states of the European Union the possibility of having a visa waiver for Belizeans. Today, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eamon Courtenay explained that those discussions are well advanced.


Eamon Courtenay, Leader of Government Business, Senate

“The Prime Minister had an occasion to meet with Commissioner Johnson, who is responsible for this area, and we had a very positive and constructive discussion. We have had consultations with every single member state. And we have been getting a significant number of assurances that they support Belize’s request. Now, the new list of countries that would qualify for a visa waiver has not yet been announced. What we are fighting for is to encourage the European Union that when they are considering the list to ensure that Belize is on that list. What I would say is, based on all of our preparation, based on all the documents that we have provided to the European Union, we have a very strong case and the European Union has accepted that. But they haven’t made a final decision as to which other countries they are going to grant that waiver to. But we will keep up the campaign and hope that we will be announced in the new list. I just take this opportunity to say we have a difficulty also with Canada. Belizeans have been complaining bitterly to me, um, and I have had to intervene at the ministerial level on a number of occasions. There is a significant delay in the approval of visas for Belizeans who want to go to Canada. Again, I have just written to Minister Miller, the new immigration minister of Canada. I have spoken earlier this week with the ambassador of Canada. She’s resident in Guatemala, on this issue, and so I have asked for a meeting with my counterpart in Canada to see if we can address this issue. At this stage, we are being told that the delay in processing a visa for a Belizean wishing to go to Canada is over 300 days. That is not acceptable, and so we are engaging Canada.”

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