16:48 22.03.2013

Verkhovna Rada ratifies Visa Facilitation Agreement with EU

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, has ratified the Visa Facilitation Agreement with the European Union.

Some 275 of the 350 MPs registered in the parliamentary sitting hall on Friday supported the law on the ratification of the amended Visa Facilitation Agreement between Ukraine and the EU.

According to the document, the visa issuing procedure can be facilitated for drivers engaged in international cargo and passenger transportation, journalists and technical staff accompanying them, participants of official exchange programs organized by the local authorities, close relatives, spouses, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren that are visiting Ukrainian citizens living in the EU member states, or EU citizens, as well as citizens that travel to the EU for medical treatment.

Visa facilitation is also introduced for members of public organizations participating in seminars and conferences, participants of international exhibitions, conference, and symposiums, members of religious communities, and participants of official EU programs for cross-border cooperation.

The document stipulates that diplomatic missions and consulates of the EU issue five-year multiple entry to such categories of people – members of central and local government, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court, prosecutors and their deputies, permanent members of official delegations, one of the spouses and children aged under 21 of those who have a valid residence permit in one of the member states, or EU citizens, businessmen and representatives of business entities who regularly visit EU member states.

European diplomatic missions and consulates also issue one-year multiple entry visas to such categories of people – drivers engaged in international transportation, crewmembers of international trains, refrigerator trains and locomotives, people engaged in scientific, cultural and artistic activities, participants in international sports events and accompanying persons, participants in official exchange programs organized by municipalities, representatives of non-governmental organizations who regularly travel to EU member states, and participants of the EU official programs on border cooperation.

Such visas are issued to these categories of people provided that during the previous year they obtained at least one Schengen visa and used it in line with the laws on entry and staying in the EU.

The document has to be ratified and approved by the sides according to internal procedures and takes effect on the first day of the second month from the date of receipt of the last written notice from the sides about the completion of the procedures.

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