Libyan citizens can now head to the Maltese Embassy in Tripoli in order to request visa services, as the latter will start processing visa applications.
The Maltese embassy has signed a contract with VFS Global to facilitate the visa application process and will begin issuing visas at the end of this month, according to Libyan media, TheSchengen.com reports.
However, due to the current COVID-19 situation, visas will only be granted for essential travel, following EU Council recommendations for business, medical and educational purposes, family reunification, or other similar reasons.
Travelers are also being urged to follow strict health restrictions on travel amid the ongoing pandemic.
In December 2020, Malta agreed to start issuing Schengen visas from the Visa Application Center in Tripoli. The announcement came after Finance Minister Clyde Caruana’s visit to Tripoli. He met with former Libyan Prime Minister Ahmed Maitiq, Minister of Interior Fathi Bashagha, and Minister of Transport Milad Mitouk.
The ministry stressed at the time that “various topics of common interest between the two countries were discussed, among them. The air connection between Malta and Libya, the resumption of Malta flights to and from Libya, the training of Libyan public sector employees in Malta, as well as investment between the two countries.”
Previously, the Prime Minister of Libya, Abdel Hamid Dabaiba, sought more support from the Government of Malta in order to facilitate travel within both regions.
In April, Libyan media reported that flights between the two countries would resume “within days”.
At that time, it was reported that both countries had reached an agreement in order to facilitate visa procedures for Libyan citizens who would be able to obtain a visa from the Libyan capital.
However, the COVID-19 situation has led to a decrease in the number of Schengen visas issued worldwide, as the Schengen countries have temporarily suspended the issuance of visas in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus and its new strains.
TheSchengen.com previously reported that in 2019, nearly 17 million people from third countries applied for a visa in order to reach the Schengen area countries, while in 2020, the number of visas issued was less than three million (2,924,365). ).
Despite the 82.7 percent drop recorded in the number of applications, the visa refusal rate has also increased from 9.9 worldwide in 2019 to 13.6 percent in 2020.