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EU-Ukraine Visa Facilitation Agreement Takes Effect

The agreement between the European Union and Ukraine on facilitation of issuance of visas has taken effect.On April 18, the European Parliament consented to conclusion of the Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine amending the Agreement between the European Community and Ukraine on the facilitation of the issuance of visas dated January 1, 2008, and the Council of the European Union approved ratification of the Agreement. The agreement extends the list of categories of Ukrainians entitled to free issuance of visas to European Union member states, including representatives of religion communities; professionals participating in international exhibitions, conferences etc.; representatives of non-government organizations traveling for educational purposes and participation in seminars/conferences; Ukrainian citizens aging under 25 participating in seminars and other events organized by non-profit organizations; participants in official programs of the European Union on border cooperation; technical staff going together with journalists.The agreement provides this right to participants in official programs of exchanges; journalists; spouses, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren visiting a relative having a right to live in the European Union member states.The agreement also introduces that Ukrainians with biometric office passports can visit the European Union without visas. The agreement envisages that the European Union member states can charge EUR 70 for visa issuance when an applicant applies with a request to consider an application within three days. If diplomatic institutions cooperate with middlemen in issuance of visas, middlemen cannot take more than EUR 30.The agreement also envisages that multiple five-year visas will be issued to governmental officials, representatives of local self-governing, judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine and the Supreme Court of Ukraine, prosecutors and their deputies for the period of their powers. The agreement envisages that multiple five-year visas will be issued to members of official delegations who regularly travel to the European Union on invitations to events, as well as their spouses, children, parents of Ukrainians entitled to live in member states of the European Union.Multiple five-year visas shall be issued to businessmen regularly travelling to the European Union, journalists.As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Member of the European Parliament Elmar Brok, chairman of the European Parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, calls for further relaxation of visas for Ukraine. Member of Parliament Arsenii Yatseniuk, chairman of the Batkivschyna All-Ukrainian Association faction, believes that ratification by the European Parliament of the agreement on facilitation of issuance of visas must be credited to the opposition rather than the incumbent authorities.Kostiantyn Yeliseyev, head of Ukraine's delegation to the European Union supposes that ratification of the agreement on facilitation of issuance of visas testifies to the Ukrainian authorities' efficient work.

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