Sunday, March 26, 2023

EU could lift visa facilitation for Russians from Monday – Official

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tiamin rice

The visa facilitation agreement between the European Union, EU, and Russia could be suspended as early as next Monday, the union’s Commissioner Ylva Johansson said on Tuesday.

“This suspension means Russian citizens will no longer enjoy privileged access to the EU, for example, for tourist and leisure purposes,” Johansson said in Brussels.

EU’s foreign ministers endorsed going back to stricter rules for Schengen visas for Russian citizens at a meeting last week.

A visa issued by any Schengen country grants access to all 26 members of the passport-free zone.

Johansson said EU countries could formally sign off the measure before the end of the week, allowing stricter rules to come into force as early as next Monday.

Should the visa facilitation agreement be suspended, Russian tourists will face longer waiting times for their visas and will have to pay a processing fee of 80 euros (79 dollars) instead of 35 euros.

Visas valid for multiple entries will be restricted too, Johansson said.

The move is another punitive measure by the EU in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The visa agreement between the EU and Russia has been in place since 2007. Shortly after the invasion, EU countries already suspended visa facilitations for businessmen, government officials and diplomats.

Johansson also announced on Tuesday guidelines for issuing new visas once the facilitations are fully lifted.

These should ensure that “journalists, dissidents, human rights activists, students and people that travel for family reasons” could still travel to the Schengen area, Johansson said.


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