The Swiss Federal Council has announced that beginning from 1st January 2024, Kosovar nationals entering Switzerland for short-term stays will be allowed to enter without a visa.
The decision to exempt Kosovars from visa requirements was made on Thursday, May 17, after the Swiss Federal Council passed the amendment to the Ordinance on Entry and Visa Issuance (VEV).
Last month, on April 19, the European Parliament and the European Union Council passed the Schengen regulation on Kosovo. This confirmed that Kosovo has met security, border controls, and migration management requirements and is eligible for a Schengen visa waiver.
This means that Kosovar nationals who will be traveling into Switzerland for short stays of 90 days per 180 days will be allowed to enter visa-free.
In a press release, the Swiss Federal Council commented that a visa is still required for foreign nationals who wish to work in Switzerland.
“Kosovan nationals are only permitted to take up employment on the condition that they have good professional qualifications and that no equivalent workers can be found on the Swiss labor market or in the EU/EFTA countries,” the press release said.
Reacting to the news, the founder of Schengen Visa Info Besart Bajrami has predicted that the decision of the Swiss Federal Council to waive visa requirements for Kosovars will have a positive effect on the Kosovan passport.
“In the Visa Guide Passport Index, Kosovo’s passport is ranked in the 195th position with a Passport Score of 10.39. Below Kosovo are ranked the passports of Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Afghanistan. In case of visa liberalization by the EU, Kosovo would move by 93 positions to the 102nd place, and the power of the passport would almost quadruple, reaching 38.93,” Bajrami said.
On estimate, around 200,000 Kosovars currently reside in Switzerland, making up the fifth-largest group of foreign residents in the country. Approximately 2,393 Kosovan immigrants naturalized as Swiss citizens last year, falling behind immigrants from France (3,256), Italy (3,757), and Germany (7,937) as the fourth-largest immigrant group of all who naturalized in Switzerland in 2022.
Kosovan passport holders can currently travel visa-free to nine countries and passport-free to five, while a visa is required to enter 152 countries.
Related Read: Kosovo citizens can now enter the EU without a visa