June 11 marks one year since the EU-Ukraine visa-free regime was introduced. This canceled the necessity of visas during the border crossing procedure - for Ukrainians who own the biometric passports. The respective measure is foreseen by the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
The State Border Guard Service reports that over the previous year, more than 20 million Ukrainians crossed the EU border. According to the authority's deputy head Oleg Slobodyan, that's 2.3 million more than that in 2016.
In 2016-2017, there were 17.7 million cases of EU border crossing by Ukrainians. In 2017 and until now, the number already excessed 20 million, he explained.
According to Slobodyan, 555,000 Ukrainians used their new biometric IDs to cross the EU border. 'Currently, we observe a fast increase in the number of those who hold the biometric passport. There are two reasons for that: the beginning of the summer tourist season, and the approaching expiration date of the Schengen visas in the old Ukrainian foreign passports', he said.
On January 1, 2018, the system of biometric data monitoring started working in Ukraine; citizens of 70 countries undergo the procedure.