Spain has recently decided to officially recognize passports from Kosovo, making it one of the European Union (EU) states to do so. The Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, Besnik Bislimi, shared this news on Saturday, expressing his excitement in a Facebook post.
Spain Recognizes Kosovo Passports, Joining EU Countries
Citizens of Kosovo have even more reason to rejoice as this recognition coincides with the commencement of visa-free movement that started on Jan. 1. Previously, one of the primary obstacles for Kosovar nationals traveling freely within the Schengen area was the non-recognition of their passport by Spain.
Kosovo's Foreign Minister, Donika Gervalla-Schwarz, announced this significant development on social media, stating that "the Kingdom of Spain recognizes ordinary passports of the Republic of Kosovo as of Jan 1, 2024," according to the Inquirer.net. However, it is important to note that this recognition does not constitute an official acknowledgment of Kosovo as an independent state by the Spanish government.
Spain was among five EU member states, including Slovakia, Cyprus, Romania, and Greece, that did not recognize Kosovo despite it being acknowledged by the other 22 EU member states. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
Related Article: Kosovo Citizens Gain Visa-Free Access to EU's Schengen Zone
This recognition by Spain comes following the implementation of a long-awaited EU visa liberalization scheme, which allows Kosovar nationals to travel to the Schengen area without requiring a visa. Under this new regime, Kosovars can enter the Schengen zone without a visa for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
The visa waiver is a significant step toward Kosovo's full recognition and supports its aspirations of joining the European Union. Kosovo was the last country in the Western Balkans to receive this visa waiver, having previously allowed its citizens to visit only 14 countries worldwide without a visa.
While more than 100 countries, including the United States, have recognized Kosovo's statehood, notable global players like Russia and China have not extended their recognition to Kosovo.
Spain Holds 'World's Most Powerful Passport'
In recent news, Spain's passport has been named the most powerful globally, surpassing Singapore. The ranking is based on how many countries and places Spanish passport holders can visit without needing a visa. As of December 2023, people with Spanish passports can travel to 160 different countries and regions without the hassle of obtaining a visa.
According to euronews.travel, this ranking considers more than just visa-free access but also considers a 'destination significance score.' This score considers the type of entry rules countries have, like visa-free, visa-on-arrival, or others. It also examines a country's economic strength, global influence, and tourism development.
Spain's high position is partly due to its ability to use an ID card for travel within the European Union, in addition to its visa-free access. While Singaporeans can visit 164 countries without a visa, Spain's passport holders can access 11 countries and territories without a visa that Singaporeans cannot, including places like the Falkland Islands, Palau, and Ukraine.
Even though Germany shares Spain's 160 visa-free destinations, Spain has certain advantages, like getting a visa on arrival for Papua New Guinea and Togo, which Germany cannot do. The Passport Index from VisaGuide.World considers various factors, making it a valuable resource for travelers worldwide.
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