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EU reimpose travel restriction for Moroccan nationals

Moroccan citizens stranded in Spain due to coronavirus crisis, queue to take the coach that will repatriate them on May 22, 2020, in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. - About 300 Moroccan citizens, stranded in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta since Rabat closed its borders in mid-March to tackle the coronavirus, were repatriated today, authorities in Melilla said. The spokesman for the Spanish government in Ceuta indicated that, apart from those who are leaving today, "around 150 or 200 more" hope to return to Morocco soon. (Photo by Antonio SEMPERE / AFP) (Photo by ANTONIO SEMPERE/AFP via Getty Images)
Moroccan citizens stranded in Spain due to coronavirus crisis, queue to take the coach that will repatriate them on 22 May 2020, in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta [ANTONIO SEMPERE/AFP/Getty Images]

EU countries decided to remove Morocco from its free travel list granting entry to non-EU nationals to the bloc’s territory, reports Anadolu Agency. 

The decision came a week after Algeria was removed from the green list.

Residents of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay can travel without restrictions to the EU.

Chinese visitors are also welcomed if Asian country grants the same rights to EU citizens.

EU member states decided to gradually open the bloc’s external borders in June after a travel ban was imposed in mid-March to contain the spread of COVID-19.

READ: Morocco stops travel to 8 cities after spike in COVID-19 cases

Countries agreed to update the list every two weeks based on epidemiological criteria.

It is the third update to the list which has been exclusively shorted.

Under current rules, Turkish or US citizens cannot enter the EU unless having  close relatives to a EU citizen, are long-term residents of the EU or obtain a special work permit that proves work is essential.

The European Commission asked member states Thursday to exclude unmarried partners of EU citizens and residents from travel restrictions.

Residents of the mini-states of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican are treated as EU nationals for entry.

The agreement is non-binding coordination between 30 governments, including four EU members who have not yet joined the Schengen area –Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and the Greek Cypriot administration — and four non-EU members of the borderless zone — Norway, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, and Iceland.

Governments can freely limit or expand the list, but those allowing travellers from non-listed external countries risk having EU peers again close borders.

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