11 May 2017

EU approves visa-free travel for Ukrainians


EU approves visa-free travel for Ukrainians

Today the European Union approved visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens over a lengthy period of waiting and consecutive delays. Ukrainians will no longer require visas to travel to most EU countries for tourism, family visits and business reasons.

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The visa-waiver is expected to come into force after 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the amendment to Regulation 539/2001.

Once in force, Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports will no longer require visas when travelling for short stays of up to 90 days to all EU Member States except for Ireland and the UK, as well as the four Schengen associated countries.

Now that the long wait is over for Ukrainians, the only document required of them to access the Schengen area will be a valid biometric passport. This regulation, however, does not apply to all EU states, as UK and Ireland regulate entry requirements of their respective national laws.

Although this visa-waiver does not grant Ukrainians the right to work in the EU it is considered a huge step toward the strengthening of EU-Ukraine relations.

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos hailed the reformation efforts done by Ukraine’s pro-Western government by stating that “From the very beginning, the Ukrainian authorities have demonstrated their full commitment to address the fight against corruption as a matter of priority and have carried out important reforms in the fields of border management and anti-discrimination. Ukraine has come a long way and today this is recognized and rewarded.”

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Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko expressed his joy by writing “YES, we did it!” on Facebook. He also added that Ukraine is gradually “becoming part of a common European civilization”.

Ukraine is in the midst of a conflict with separatist rebels, a conflict incited in the 2014 pro-Western uprisings where Russia annexed Crimea shortly after.

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