EU Council adopts full suspension of visa facilitation with Russia

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The Council of the European Union (EU), on Friday, adopted a decision on the full suspension of a visa facilitation agreement with Russia.

The Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU said the decision would result in measures like increase in the visa application fee from €35 to €80 and the need to present additional documentary evidence.

Other measures are increased visa processing time, and more restrictive rules for the issuance of multiple-entry visas.

The decision entered into force on Friday and will apply as of September 12, the council said.

The 2007 EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement aimed at facilitating the issuance of short-stay visas on the basis of reciprocity.

Following the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in late February this year, the EU partially suspended the visa facilitation agreement for Russian officials and business people.

At their informal meeting in August in Prague, the foreign ministers of the EU member states reached a political agreement to move forward with the full suspension of the agreement.

“The full suspension affects all categories of travelers coming to the EU for a short stay,” it said.

It added that the European Commission will present additional guidelines to ensure that the suspension does not negatively impact certain people travelling to the EU for essential purposes.

Russia said on Sunday that it would take serious retaliatory measures if the EU formally introduces visa restrictions on Russian citizens.

The Czech Republic is currently holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU for the second half of this year.  

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