Council of European Union scraps visa facilitation deal with Russia

The Council of the European Union today announced that visa facilitation agreement with Russia will be fully suspended as of September 12, 2022.

The European Commission proposed a full suspension of the visa facilitation agreement with Russia on September 6, citing Russia’s ongoing war of aggression in Ukraine, and the proposal was officially approved by EU member states today.

“Today the Council adopted a decision that fully suspends the visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Russia. Consequently, the general rules of the visa code will apply to Russian citizens,” EU administrative body announced.

According to the EU Council’s official press release, the decision to suspend visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Russia, which had simplified visa application procedures for Russian citizens, will result in “an increase in the visa application fee from 35 euros to 80 euros, the need to present additional documentary evidence, increased visa processing times and more restrictive rules for the issuance of multiple-entry visas.”

“A visa facilitation agreement allows privileged access to the EU for citizens of trusted partners with whom we share common values. With its unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression, including its indiscriminate attacks against civilians, Russia has broken this trust and trampled on the fundamental values of our international community. Today’s decision is a direct consequence of Russia’s actions and further proof of our unwavering commitment to Ukraine and its people,” Vít Rakušan, Czech Minister of the Interior said.

The council’s decision will come into effect on Monday next week.

Latvia, Estonia Lithuania and Poland have also announced that they would no longer be issuing visas to Russian citizens or allowing entry to Russians with EU Schengen visas.

With air routes from Russia to the European Union currently virtually nonexistent, this decision by the Baltic states and Poland would also effectively close the land route to Europe for most Russian Schengen visa holders.

Several European Union countries proposed a complete visa ban on all Russian citizens, but the proposal failed to gain unanimous support within the bloc.

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