Manama: A Kuwaiti lawmaker has urged the foreign minister to take prompt action to ensure fair treatment of Kuwaiti citizens when they apply for the Schengen visa.
“We request Foreign Minister Shaikh Sabah Al Khalid to speak with his European counterparts to cancel the arbitrariness of their embassies in Kuwait and their complex procedures for granting Kuwaiti citizens Schengen visas to visit the member countries,” MP Abdullah Al Tamimi said. “The citizens of these European countries can obtain their entry visas to Kuwait with ease from all land, sea and air points even though the Kuwaiti visa is not in any way less significant than their visas,” he said in remarks published in local daily Al Qabas on Monday.
The lawmaker said that Europeans could sponsor themselves whenever they want to live in Kuwait and they are treated at least as nicely as the citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that groups Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “Despite this privilege, the Schengen embassies and the offices designated to help with the processing of the visas are not fair in their treatment of the people, impose heavily bureaucratic measures and are much more demanding than the other countries,” the lawmaker said.
“We need to apply all the protocols and agreements with the European Union member countries as they have huge interests with us. They benefit from the Kuwaiti energy and other opportunities while they are the largest exporters of their goods to Kuwait. These countries enormously benefit from the travel of Kuwaiti citizens, be it for studies or medical treatment,” he said.
Several foreign ministry officials in the GCC countries have held meetings with Schengen visa member ambassadors to convey the complaints by their citizens about the difficulties they face in securing their visas. The diplomats have invariably called upon applicants to ensure their application appointments and the subsequent interviews are held well ahead of their travel arrangement dates.