Commission issues guidelines for partial suspension of visa facilitation agreement with Russia



The Commission of the European Union has published a set of guidelines for embassies and consulates of EU Member States regarding the partial suspension of the visa facilitation agreement with Russia following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army.

In a statement issued today, 5 May, the Commission noted that Member States’ visa issuing authorities in Russia and other countries around the world are being asked to suspend the agreement which creates visa when processing applications submitted by specific categories of persons close to the Russian regime, which include:

  • citizens who are members of official Russian delegations
  • members of Russian national and regional governments and parliaments
  • Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of Russia
  • Holder of a valid diplomatic passport of the Russian Federation
  • Russian businessmen and representatives of commercial organizations

According to the statement, once member states start applying the guidelines, people in any of the categories listed above will no longer have privileged access to the EU.

For example, the supporting documents to be issued before a trip are no longer abolished and the visa application processing fee is no longer reduced, which means that the standard visa fee of €80 applies by default.notes the Commission, adding that the guidelines will allow EU embassies and consulates to apply the partial suspension of the agreement.

He further explains that this decision does not affect ordinary citizens of the Russian Federation in any way and that visas can still be issued for humanitarian reasons.

This decision is just one of many measures the EU has taken as part of the sanctions against the Russian Federation due to the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 this year. .

Immediately after the invasion, several EU countries stopped issuing all types of visas for all Russians. Poland had also called on Schengen countries to completely stop issuing Russians on April 4. Similar measures had been taken by Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

The Netherlands, on the other hand, stopped issuing visas to Russians at the end of April after Russia expelled the entire section of the Dutch embassy responsible for processing and issuing visas. Meanwhile, the number of Russian diplomats expelled from EU countries reached over 200 in early April alone.

Russia also took several similar steps, suspending simplified visa procedures for citizens of several EU member states, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Iceland on April 6.

>> Russia introduces visa restrictions for EU citizens, condemning ‘unfriendly’ Union

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