Eu/russia: Visa and Readmission Agreements - an Overview

Europe-East, November 11, 2005 | Go to article overview

Eu/russia: Visa and Readmission Agreements - an Overview


In principle, the rights and obligations laid down are reciprocal. In practice, the deal essentially involves cheaper and easier visas for Russian and EU citizens in return for Russia agreeing to take back illegal immigrants - including non-Russians - who entered the EU via Russia. However, there is a three-year delay before the parts obliging third country nationals (i.e. non-Russian and non-EU) to be readmitted take effect. But this delay does not apply if the person comes from a third country with which Russia already has a bilateral readmission agreement. The EU-Russia agreements will only enter into force when both have been ratified.

Visas.

The visas are valid for stays of up 90 days in a 180-day period. To obtain a visa, officials, business people, drivers, rail staff, journalists, scientists, students, athletes, 'close relatives' and people attending burials need to produce a letter showing the purpose of their journey. Five-year, multiple-entry visas shall be issued to government, parliament and judicial officials and to dependent children of EU or Russian nationals. Multiple-entry visas of up to a year may be issued to people if they have already been issued with at least one visa and they used it.

Euro 35 euro is the standard visa-issuing fee, although this rises to 70 if the person only applies for the visa three days before their planned departure. Fees will be waived for close relatives, official delegations, government, parliament and judicial officials, students, the disabled, athletes, scientists or on humanitarian grounds e.g. to receive medical treatment. Decisions on visa applications shall normally be taken within 10 calendar days but this can be extended to 30 days in individual cases. Holders of diplomatic passports do not need a visa.

The agreement takes precedence over any bilateral or multilateral agreements between Russia and member states. Because of their opt-out on EU visa policy, it will not apply to Denmark, the United Kingdom and Ireland but an annexed declaration encourages them to conclude similar bilateral accords. Norway and Iceland are also asked to conclude such accords as they are part of the EU's Schengen border-free zone.

Readmission.

"The transfer by the requesting state and admission by the requested state of persons...found illegally entering to, being present in, or residing in the requesting state", is how readmission is defined. …

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