On 7 October 2021, the Council of the European Union decided to suspend certain provisions of the Visa Code concerning the processing of visa applications introduced by Gambian nationals irrespective of the applicant’s place of residence.

The decision has been made because the EU has found that The Gambia’s cooperation on readmission matters is not sufficient, for which reason action by the EU is necessary. It appears from the decision that the suspension of the provisions in question ought to encourage the Gambian authorities to undertake the necessary measures to improve cooperation on readmission matters.

The provisions of the Visa Code mentioned below which have been temporarily suspended are suspended in relation to all visa applications introduced as of 1st November 2021 by Gambian nationals irrespective of the applicant’s place of residence. 

The following provisions have been suspended: 

  • The possibility of waiving requirements with regard to the documentary evidence to be submitted by visa applicants, referred to in Article 14(6) of the Visa Code; 
  • The general 15 calendar days processing period, referred to in Article 23(1). From now on, the processing period will be 45 calendar days;
  • The possibility of the issuing of multiple-entry visas, referred to in Article 24(2) and Article 24(2c); 
  • The optional visa fee waiver for holders of diplomatic and service passports referred to in Article 16(5) point (b). Consequently, holders of diplomatic and service passports must pay a fee when introducing a visa application.

The suspension of the regulations does not apply to the following cases:

  • Nationals of The Gambia who are family members of an EU citizen to whom the Citizens Rights Directive applies, and nationals of The Gambia who are family members of a British national enjoying a right of free movement and who falls within the scope of application of the withdrawal agreement.
  • Nationals of The Gambia applying for a visa in order to participate in meetings organised by international intergovernmental organisations hosted by a Member State, or international conferences hosted by a Member State.   

The entire Council Implementing Decision No 11748/21 is available here (pdf)