Following the European Commission’s proposal, today EU countries agreed to fully suspend the Visa Facilitation Agreement with Russia. This means that Russians who wish to travel to the EU will face a longer and less simplified visa approval procedure.
A longer and more thorough process for lodging applications
To help navigate consulates of EU countries how to process short-stay visa applications lodged by Russian citizens, the European Commission issued special guidelines.
Because of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU faces greater security risks. Based on the above guidelines, consulates have discretion to perform stricter assessments and scrutiny over lodge applications. This could possibly lead to visa refusal as well as to the revocation of existing valid visas. In this context, consulates can:
- Deprioritise non-essential travel: Consulates should give lower priority to applicants who do not have an essential reason to travel, such as tourists, when attributing visa appointments.
- Extend the period for deciding on visa applications: Consulates could take up to 45 days to take a decision on visa applications (against 15 days in regular cases) so as to ensure more thorough checks on applications lodged by Russians.
- Request additional supporting documents: EU countries’ consulates could request additional documents beyond the standard list, to ensure a high level of scrutiny, in particular in cases of possible threats to public policy, public order and international relations.
Greater scrutiny over visa applications and existing visas
The main aim of the suspension of the Visa Facilitation Agreement with Russia is to prevent security threats to the EU and its countries. That is why the EU remains open to Russian visa applicants travelling for essential purposes, including family members of EU citizens, journalists, dissidents and civil society representatives.
Yet, if an EU countries’ consulate considers a Russian citizen who is applying for a short-stay visa as a threat to public policy, internal security, or to the international relations of any EU country, then they can refuse to grant the visa to such an applicant. Similarly, EU countries should also have a strict approach when reassessing valid short-stay visas already issued to Russian citizens.
- Publication date
- 9 September 2022
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs