Today, the Commission presented updated guidelines for EU countries on visa procedures and border controls for Russian citizens at the EU's external borders. Based on the guidelines, EU countries should practice greater security scrutiny when issuing visas to Russians and heightened border controls. This should be done while fully respecting EU asylum law.
Reinforced security scrutiny on visa issuance to Russians
As Russia is now mobilising citizens to fight in the war in Ukraine, EU countries bordering Russia are facing a higher number of Russian citizens applying for EU visas to flee the military draft.
EU countries should assess the conditions under which Russian citizens can be issued Schengen visas in a restrictive and coordinated manner and should apply a strict approach assessing the justification of the journey. This includes Russian citizens who are fleeing military mobilisation.
If a Russian citizen is applying for a long stay visa in the EU to flee the military draft, then consulates should treat the case under the applicable rules for long stay visas. When it comes to short-stay visas, consulates should apply humanitarian exceptions in a restrictive manner. It is up to each EU country, based on an individual examination, to assess if visa applications by Russian citizens can qualify under the category “humanitarian reasons”.
Consulates of EU countries should also look carefully into cases of Russians applying for a short-stay visa from outside Russia. In such cases, they should direct the visa application to the consulate where the applicant has their place of residence, normally in the Russian Federation.
Consulates and border guards of EU countries should exercise increased scrutiny in assessing the validity of already issued visas for Russian citizens.
Coordinated and thorough controls of Russian citizens at EU's external borders
EU countries should coordinate with each other to make sure that, a Russian citizen denied entry at one border would not be admitted at another.
Travel carriers should remain vigilant when verifying travel documents required for entry into the EU, especially for Russian citizens. They are also responsible to return the person denied entry in the EU back to the country of their departure.
- Commission Communication: Guidelines on general visa issuance in relation to Russian applicants and guidance on control of Russian citizens at the external borders
- Commission Communication providing guidelines on general visa issuance in relation to Russian applicants
- Council Decision on the suspension of the application of the EU-Russia Visa Facilitation Agreement
- Publication date
- 30 September 2022
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs