EU-Ukraine Relations Progress Further on Amended Visa Facilitation Agreement

PR Newswire

KYIV, Ukraine, May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The Council of the European Union has approved ratification of the amended EU-Ukraine visa facilitation agreement. It is expected that the agreement will come into force starting July 1, 2013, said Ukraine's commissioner on foreign policy and integration processes and representative to the EU Kostiantyn Yeliseyev.

The agreement expands the categories of Ukrainian citizens eligible for the simplified procedure of getting free and/or multiple-entry visas, improves visa issuing procedures for media representatives and determines clear periods of validity of multiple-entry visas.

The agreement stipulates that the simplified visa issuing procedure applies to journalists and technical staff accompanying them, members of public organizations participating in seminars and conferences abroad, participants of official exchange programs organized by the local authorities, members of religious organization, and participants of official EU programs for cross-border cooperation, such as the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) for example. The simplified procedure is also available to citizens who travel to the EU for medical treatment as well as to spouses, children (including adopted) parents (including custodians), grandparents and grandchildren, close relatives who intend to visit the EU citizens or citizens of Ukraine legally residing in the territory of the EU member states.

According to the document, the EU consulates and diplomatic missions may now issue five-year multiple entry visas to the permanent members of official delegations as well as to members of the central and local government including prosecutors and their deputies.

During the May 13, 2013 briefing Yeliseyev confirmed that Ukraine was working to accelerate the implementation of internal procedures so that Ukrainian citizens could start making use of the document in the summer vacation months.

Notably, on December 10, 2012, the Foreign Affairs council issued a set of conclusions on Ukraine including the affirmation of its "commitment to the shared objective of visa-free travel". The conclusions also mentioned that the council looked forward to the early conclusion of the amended Visa Facilitation Agreement. Thus the Ukrainian Parliament ratified the amendments to the visa facilitation agreement on March 22, 2013. The President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych signed the agreement on April 8, while the EU Parliament gave the green light to its entry into force on April 18, 2013.

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