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April 6, European Parliament supported the introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens. This means that there are only a couple of stages of approval left.
A year ago, in April 2016, European Commission sent an official proposal on the abolition of visas for Ukrainians. The European Commissioner for Migration, Internal Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitras Avramopulos, explained that Ukraine has fulfilled all the requirements for the necessary reforms. Then the Europeans were concerned about the agreement on the mechanism for canceling visa-free travel, the Netherlands in a referendum opposed the Ukraine-EU association, and we, with long discussions and difficulties, launched the e-declaration process. All this directly or indirectly delayed the provision of visa-free travel.
So, the European Parliament has approved a visa-free regime for Ukrainians. What is next?
- Further, in addition to EU countries should, the issue should be repeatedly supported at the ministerial meeting. This could happen on April 26.
- The decision should be approved by the Council of Ministers of the EU. The Council votes on the principle of qualified majority (votes of at least 55% of the EU member states, representing at least 65% of the population). To block the decision of the EU Council, at least four states must vote against it, in which 35% of the population live. The media referring to the sources called the date of consideration of the Ukrainian issue in the EU Council - May 11.
- After this, the decision is signed by the president of the European Parliament and the representative of the presiding country (Malta). Tentatively it will be held on May 15.
- The decision is published in the official EU bulletin (this may take up to a week, possibly on May 22).
- Twenty days after the publication of the visa-free entry into force - in advance from June 11, 2017.
Visas will be canceled only for owners of biometric passports.
The visa-free regime applies to short-term trips: both business and tourist. It will be possible to stay in the Schengen countries for not more than 90 days in each interval of 180 days. If you stay in the EU for longer, problems might arise and a further entry might be banned.
Ukrainians will have the right to enter the 26 countries of the Schengen area, as well as to Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria, which are preparing to join the Schengen agreement. In addition, Switzerland promised to introduce a visa-free regime for Ukrainians after this decision is approved by the EU.
When traveling to Ireland and the UK, visas would be still needed, because there are no EU migration rules.
Visa-free travel does not entitle to employment, studying, permanent residence in the EU countries. To this end, as before, Ukrainians will have to issue a national visa of the "D" class.
Old passports and visas will continue to operate until the end of their term. Those who for some reason do not want or cannot draw up a new passport have the right to continue to apply to the consulate for a visa.