Updated: 11/01/2024

The Visa Liberalization Dialogue

The Visa Liberalization Dialogue (VLD) launched between Türkiye and the European Union (EU) aims to lift Schengen visa requirement for Turkish citizens during their short stays in the Schengen Area.  Once the Visa Liberalization Dialogue is finalized, all Turkish citizens with biometric passports will be able to travel for short stays (i.e. of 90 days within any 180-day period) in the Schengen Area without a visa for business, family or touristic purposes. The Schengen visa is valid for all EU member states except Ireland. Although Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are not EU members, they are included in the Schengen system.

VLD, which was launched on 16 December 2013, in parallel with the signature of the Türkiye-EU Readmission Agreement, based on the “Roadmap towards a visa free regime with Türkiye (the Roadmap)”, a document setting out the requirements that needs to be meet. The 72 requirements (benchmark/criteria) listed in the Roadmap are organized in five thematic groups ("blocks"):

  • Document security
  • Migration management
  • Public order and security
  • Fundamental rights
  • Readmission of irregular migrants.

The Roadmap mainly covers the rules and requirements related to implementation of visa liberalization and Türkiye-EU Readmission Agreement such as the security of travel documents (ID, passports, etc.), migration management, public order and security, and fundamental rights. In this context, the following subjects are included in the Roadmap;

  • Regarding document security, issuing the biometric passports in compliance with EU standards, ensuring the security of passports, identity cards and other similar documents
  • In the area of ​​migration management, ensuring adequate border check and surveillance, efficient implementation related to international protection and foreigners in line with the EU acquis
  • On the subject of public order and security, fighting against organized crime, terrorism and corruption and preventing these crimes, aligning with the EU acquis on financing terrorism, human trafficking and cybercrime, providing effective judicial cooperation in criminal matters and data protection
  • On fundamental rights; protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, anti-discrimination, access to travel and identity documents, and access of refugees and stateless persons to identity documents
  • Regarding readmission of irregular migrants, requirements on readmission

The requirements covered under the Roadmap also overlap with the areas of Chapter 24 (migration and border management, judicial and cooperation, fight against drug) and Chapter 23. In this context, the VLD is  important not only for providing visa-free travel to Turkish citizens, but also for for Türkiye’s accession process to EU.

Most of the above listed requirements on the Roadmap have been fulfilled by the arrangements and improvements made in relevant legislation, especially the “Law on Foreigners and International Protection”.

The work and negotiations related to the finalization of the VLD, are carried out by related institutions, primarily the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior and under the coordination of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate for EU Affairs.

European Commission has confirmed that Türkiye has met 65 of the 72 benchmarks of the Roadmap. As a result of before mentioned works, the number of benchmarks that Türkiye is supposed to fulfill dropped to six after the Commission had confirmed the fulfillment of benchmark on second-generation passports as of 8 December 2018.

In addition to this, the negotiations are ongoing to conclude the Agreement between Türkiye and the EU on exchange of personal data between the Europol and the competent Turkish Authorities on fight against serious crimes and terrorism.

The progress on biometric passports and cooperation with the Europol are also highlighted in the Commission’s 2019 Report on Türkiye.  2019 Report on Türkiye, confirmed that Turkish biometric passports’ compatibility with EU standards.

When the VLD finalized, an amendment would be made to the Regulation (EU) No 2018/1806 which would allow Turkish citizens to travel for short stays in the Schengen area without a visa.


Türkiye-EU Readmission Agreement (16 December 2013)

Agreed Minutes and Annotated Roadmap Towards a Visa-Free Regime with Türkiye (16 December 2013)

Presidential Circular on “Türkiye – EU Visa Liberalization Dialogue" (18 September 2019)

Updated: 11/01/2024 / Hit: 110,047