From February 2022, EU countries extended the sanctions against Russia. The sanctions were first introduced in 2014. It was a response to the annexation of Crimea and breaking the Minsk agreements. Visas for Russians are the subject of recent considerations. European countries more and more often mention a total ban on visas to citizens of Russia.
What steps has the EU taken so far on visas for Russians in Poland?
On 9th September, the EU Council fully suspended the EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement. This means that Russian citizens no longer have privileged access to the EU. Moreover, their visa application procedures are longer, more expensive and more difficult.
Member States enjoy a great deal of freedom with short-stay visa applications submitted by Russian citizens. Thus, they can provide more control over Russian nationals travelling to the EU. Yet, the EU remains open to certain categories of travelers applying for a visa. This concerns especially families of EU citizens, journalists and humanitarian visa applicants. The European Commission also recommends that member states take a strict attitude towards Russians fleeing mobilization. It is also recommended to review the already granted visas.
Poland’s approach towards visas for Russian citizens in Poland
Based on regulations of the EU Council, Poland abandoned issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens. In a resolution of September 29, Polish Sejm condemned the illegal referenda in the territories occupied by Russia. Moreover, it was emphasized that it is unacceptable to allow citizens of a country that started a violent war to move freely around Europe. The Sejm supported every action aiming at stopping visas for Russians
The approach of other European countries
In September, Switzerland, following the EU countries, tightened its visa regulations on Russians. Finland, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, the Czech Republic and the Baltic countries also took a radical stance on visas for Russians. These countries, no longer issue tourist visas to citizens of that country. So now, it remains to wait for other countries’ decisions in this regard.
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