As per diplomatic sources, a number of European embassies in Beirut have decided to reduce the duration of tourist entry visas to Europe to less than 6 months, Al-Akhbar reported on Thursday, January 30th.
The decision applies to all Lebanese citizens, excluding political figures, businessmen, senior officials, and employees.
The same diplomatic sources confirmed to the newspaper that these measures have started to be adopted by the embassies of several European countries as of last summer; that is, before the outbreak of the October 17 revolution.
It was not explicitly specified which of the European embassies have approved this new measure as no further details were uncovered by the source. The reason behind the new regulation remains ambiguous as well. As it seems, non-tourist entry visa types are not affected by this decision.
It is worth mentioning that, according to the Henley Passport Index of 2020, Lebanon ranked among the worst countries globally in terms of the travel freedom for its citizens.
Notably, Lebanon has made some progress in this domain since last year, when it ranked the 100th in the 2019 Henley Passport Index.
The index calculates the rank of a certain passport by referring to the number of countries its holders can travel to without having to acquire an entry visa beforehand. The number of countries that a specific passport can access becomes its visa-free ‘score.’
On a similar note, the French Embassy in Beirut denied in a statement the “information that is circulating via audio recordings on the WhatsApp application and social networking sites about warnings sent to members of the French community in Lebanon.”