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This should be done by Colombia to get the US to withdraw the visa requirement for its citizens

This should be done by Colombia to get the US to withdraw the visa requirement for its citizens

One of the most ambitious foreign policy gambles of the government of President Gustavo Petro has been to try to prevent the United States from requiring visas for Colombian tourists to enter that country.

The Colombian government’s intentions were made clear when the State Department confirmed that it had begun processing the application in October last year.

However, it is a long-term effort, and as of March this year, the first technical meeting to deal with the issue was confirmed. The meeting was attended by a number of senior Colombian government officials, such as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francisco Cuy, and the Colombian Ambassador to the United States, Luis Gilberto Murillo.

The CEO’s strategy is to get the US to give them a visa waiver called Exemption from entry visa. This relaxation of the rule will allow Colombian citizens to enter US territory without a visa, as long as specific requirements are met: on the one hand, they will have to go on tourist or business trips, and on the other hand, they will have to stay in the US for a maximum of 90 days.

However, it is a difficult feat to achieve. more, because This is not the first time that the Colombian government has sought to cancel visas for tourists traveling to the United States. Already in 2014, during the government of former President Juan Manuel Santos, the country tried to adjust its immigration policy, but it did not work out.

At the regional level, it is also clear that this is a difficult issue to achieve. In Latin America, Chile is the only country that has the possibility for its citizens to make tourist or business trips to the United States without the need for a visa.

Former President Juan Manuel Santos tried to persuade Colombia to obtain a visa waiver for its citizens when the current President of the United States, Joe Biden, was Vice President. – picture: LightRocket via Getty Images

It should be noted that the list of countries with this possibility is very small. So much so that it fits in one paragraph.

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Among the countries excluded are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Republic of Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

This is what Colombia must do before obtaining a Visa Waiver

But this time, the Colombian government has faith and the requirements of the US government are already clear.

As the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs itself pointed out, The Biden administration has put on the table five major issues that Colombia must address before an investigation Exemption from entry visa to its citizens.

USA visa
Currently, the only country in Latin America whose citizens do not require a tourist visa to enter the United States is Chile. – picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Among other things, they cited the need to implement counterterrorism measures, law enforcement, traveler detection, proper application of US immigration law, and proper handling of identity and travel documents for Colombian citizens seeking to leave the country.

On the other side, Some senior US government officials have alluded to these measures Which the Colombian government will have to implement to achieve Exemption from entry visa.

In an interview with week What happened last year, the US ambassador to Colombia, Francisco Palmieri, stressed that the process of making immigration more flexible could take time, but he did not rule out the possibility of its success. “Anything is possible,” Palmieri said.

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He also indicated the requirements that the Colombian government must meet for its implementation. “One of the main ones is the number of people who have a visa, travel to the country and come back. There are also a number of Colombians who come to and stay in the United States. It’s all part of a review process for this type of application.”

Francisco Palmieri.
Francisco Palmieri, US Ambassador to Colombia. – picture: Juan Carlos Sierra Pardo

He noted that withdrawing the visa process is not the only measure that can be taken at the bilateral level to improve the immigration situation of Colombians. To this extent, he warned, “conditions of trust” must be created to ensure proper movement of people between the two countries.