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.
This will result in an increase in the visa application fee from €35 to €80, 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
The decision is expected to be published in the Official Journal on 9 September 2022. It will enter into force on the day of its adoption and will apply as of 12 September 2022.
The EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement entered into force on 1 June 2007. Its purpose was to facilitate the issuance of short-stay visas (no more than 90 days per 180 days) on the basis of reciprocity.
On 24 February 2022, the European Council condemned in the strongest possible terms Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine and expressed full solidarity with Ukraine and its people. On 25 February the EU adopted further restrictive measures against Russia, as well as the partial suspension of the visa facilitation agreement for diplomats, other Russian officials and business people.
Since then, the EU has adopted additional measures to respond to Russia’s actions and to support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. At their informal meeting on 31 August, foreign affairs ministers reached a political agreement to move forward with the full suspension of the visa facilitation agreement.
The full suspension affects all categories of travellers coming to the EU for a short stay. The Commission is expected to present additional guidelines to ensure this suspension does not negatively impact certain people travelling to the EU for essential purposes, such as journalists, dissidents and civil society representatives.