Visa waiver agreements enable visa-free travel, which has substantial positive effects on the country’s economy, society, and culture.
They also stimulate the travel and tourism, real estate, and travel industries by bringing in foreign direct investments.
The relaxation of visa requirements facilitates travel, business travel, sightseeing, and reunions with loved ones for a greater number of individuals.
Within the European Union, travel without a visa remains a vital instrument for boosting business and tourism, while also yielding substantial economic, social, and cultural advantages to both EU member states and non-EU nations.
Approximately 7% of all exports worldwide and 4.4% of the GDP of OECD nations came from the travel and tourism industry alone in 2019, according to OECD estimates.
Visa waiver suspension is a possibility for nations that administer Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs, primarily as a result of inadequate applicant security checks. Suspensions of visa waivers pose a risk to bilateral and diplomatic relations between two nations.
The Commonwealth of Dominica and Vanuatu’s visa waiver was removed by the United Kingdom on July 19, 2023.
In the House of Lords, the Home Secretary declared, “Careful consideration of Dominica’s and Vanuatu’s operation of a citizenship by investment scheme has shown clear and evident abuse of the scheme, including the granting of citizenship to individuals known to pose a risk to the UK.”
Home Office’s decision to implement these visa requirements was made exclusively for border and migration security purposes, and it does not indicate a lack of goodwill toward these countries.
Canada withdrew Grenada and Dominica from the eTA program on June 6, 2023. Three additional nations have been included in the electronic travel authorization (eTA) program: St. Kitts, St. Lucia, and Antigua.
When flying to Canada, citizens of these nations who have either held a valid Canadian visa within the last ten years or who presently possess a valid non-immigrant visa for the United States may now apply for an eTA in lieu of a visa.
Canada imposed the visa requirement for St. Kitts and Nevis on November 22, 2014. The “issuing of passports and identity management practices within its Citizenship by Investment program” raised concerns, according to Canada.
The St. Kitts and Nevis government recalled all passports lacking a written place of birth between December 10, 2014, and March 31, 2016, in order to issue new passports with that information.
Antiguan and Barbudan citizens will require a visa in order to enter Canada as of June 27, 2017.
At that point, any electronic travel authorizations (eTAs) that have already been granted to Antiguana and Barbuda citizens will expire and they won’t be able to utilize them to enter Canada.
The Canadian government has concluded that Antigua and Barbuda no longer satisfies the requirements for a visa exemption after closely examining the validity of the country’s travel documents.
In December 2002, Canada implemented new visa regulations for nationals of eight nations, including Grenada, partially aligning its practices with the more stringent US guidelines.
All CBI countries—aside from Malta, whose citizens need an ESTA to travel—are subject to US visa requirements. The US closed the loophole for applying for an E-2 visa obtained by citizenship through investments in December 2022 (e.g. Grenada, Turkey, Montenegro).
In order to assure compliance with the modified text, USCIS may request extra proof for all E-1 and E-2 files submitted on or after December 23, 2022, regarding the applicant’s method of obtaining nationality from a treaty country.
The foreign state of which the alien is a national and where the alien has resided continuously for at least three years at any point prior to applying for a nonimmigrant visa, and an alien who obtained the relevant nationality through a financial investment and who has not previously been granted status under this subparagraph.
The decision to partially suspend the visa waiver agreement with Vanuatu was agreed by the Council on March 3, 2022. The complete suspension for all Vanuatu natives is in effect until August 3, 2023.
The Commission declared that there are “heightened risks for the security of the EU and its Member States” as a result of Vanuatu’s citizenship for sale program, which enables people to get nationality in exchange for an investment.
There is now no need for a visa to enter the EU for 60 non-EU nations. These nations’ citizens are not required to have a visa in order to enter the Schengen area for brief visits of up to 90 days during any 180-day period.
According to the European Commission, the goal of visa waiver agreements is to promote people-to-people travel between the EU and a third country, not to give citizens of other countries where a visa is required a way to avoid the EU short-stay visa process by becoming citizens.
The “extremely low rejection rate,” “lack of information exchange with applicants’ countries of origin,” and “granting of citizenship to applicants listed in Interpol’s databases” are among the “serious deficiencies and security failures” of the investment citizenship plan.
Consequences of suspending the visa waiver
The suspension of visa waivers may have a cascading effect on a country’s development, particularly on smaller ones. Among the consequences are the following:
Economic Impact: Travel and commerce related to visa waiver bans may be impacted, as well as the real estate market, potentially resulting in financial losses for the countries affected.
Travel reductions can have an effect on the hotel, investment, transportation, and associated industries.
Diplomatic Relations: Visa waiver suspensions may put pressure on relations between nations on the diplomatic front.
Tensions in diplomacy may result from such activities, which could be interpreted as a reaction to security or political issues.
Trade Relations: The effects may also extend to trade, since business meetings, conferences, and other events are frequently fostered by more convenient travel. Negotiations and economic relationships may be hampered by suspensions.
Security Concerns: Security concerns are a common reason for the suspension of visa waivers. Even though the goal of these measures is to improve national security, they might not always provide 100% safety.
Travel Chaos: Passengers who depend on visa-free entry may find it inconvenient when visa waiver suspensions occur.
This can include visitors, learners, families, business travelers, and people who hold dual citizenship, all of whom might have to wait longer for their visa applications.
Impact on International Organizations: When a country suspends visa waivers, it may be subject to criticism or repercussions from international organizations and treaties. They might break international accords, which would hurt their reputation internationally.
Long-term Effects: Countries may find it difficult to regain public confidence and restore visa-free travel as a result of suspensions of visa waivers.
Changes to Domestic Policy: In reaction to the suspension of visa waivers, nations may modify their national policies, immigration laws, and security protocols to tackle the root causes.
Asylum applications and irregular migration may rise as a result of unmonitored migration policies.
Passport power is the reduction in the value and respect that a passport has with related countries.