The European Parliament has unanimously approved the removal of visa requirements for Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Visa free travel to the European Union’s Schengen Zone (which excludes the following EU member states: the UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria) for Albanians and Bosnians should be reality by Christmas.

It is important to note that the visa free travel applies to short term tourist or business visitors only: visas will still be a requirement for long stays in many European Union countries. Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina are not yet members of the European Union and citizens of these countries will still need work permission to take up employment in European Union member states.

Additionally, the visa waiver will apply only to holders of biometric passports. As a result, Monday saw over 350 applications made for new biometric passports in Sarajevo: on an average day, the Bosnian passport office receives around 100 requests.