Ukrainian citizens travelling to Europe up by 15% during first 6 months of visa-free travel
Ukrainians have crossed the EU member states' border near 11mln times since the entry into force of the visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU, which is by 15% more than in the same period in 2016, according to a press release from the EU Delegation to Ukraine, published on Monday.
"Visa free travel boosted the benefits of the free trade area between the EU and Ukraine. Moreover it contributed to the increase of exports from Ukraine to the EU by 29% over the first nine months of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016," the document reads.
The EU Delegation said, referring to the State Border Service of Ukraine, that more than 2,5 million Ukrainians have entered the EU using biometric passports.
In turn, the press service of the State Border Service informs that for half a year of visa-free regime, 355,000 Ukrainians has taken advantage of the simplified system of crossing the border.
"At the same time, more than 128,000 Ukrainians used aviation transport for travel, 227,000 of our compatriots traveled by car and by rail, a small number of citizens travelled through sea checkpoints ... Most of Ukrainians travelled across the border with Poland and Romania - almost 90,000 and 65,000 people respectively. As a whole, a common border with the EU was crossed by 64% of visa-free travelers," the report reads.
At the same time, the State Border Guard Service noted that recently there has been a decrease in the number of travelers on a visa-free basis, explaining this by the excitement in the first months of the visa-free operation: if earlier border guards issued an average of 80,000 Ukrainians per month, in November this figure was 32,500 people.
"At the same time, the total number of trips by Ukrainian citizens to European countries for the three summer months of 2017 increased by 10% compared to the same three months of 2016," the service said.
The State Border Guard Service reminded that, in preparation for the visa-free travel, in particular, 157 border checkpoints were equipped with biometric equipment, including 97 with fingerprint control. At present, the biometric monitoring system, established by the border guards, operates in all aviation, international and interstate border checkpoints at the border with the EU countries.
Ukrainian citizens were granted visa-free travel to the European Union countries (except for the United Kingdom and Ireland) as well as to four Schengen states – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland on June 11, 2017.