Ukraine made yet another step toward facilitation and further liberalization of the visa regime with the EU, enabling Ukrainian citizens to undergo improved, simplified and clear EU visa application procedures. Such is the summary of the statement which accompanied the new Law of Ukraine “On ratification of the agreement between Ukraine and the European Union introducing amendments to the visa facilitation agreement between Ukraine and the European Community”, signed by the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych on April 8, 2013.
The agreement expands the categories of Ukrainian citizens eligible for the simplified procedure of getting free and/or multiple-entry visas, improves visa issuing procedures for media representatives and determines clear periods of validity of multiple-entry visas.
Thus, the representatives of civil society organizations traveling for the purpose of educational training, seminars, conferences, including those within the framework of exchange programs; participants in official EU programs of cross-border cooperation, such as the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), may apply for the simplified visa procedures. The simplified visa application procedures are also available to the members of professional and religious organizations and young people (under 25) who participate in events organized by NGOs abroad.
According to the agreement, Ukrainian journalists may apply for multiple-entry visas for the term of up to five years with a reference from their Ukraine-based employer instead of submitting the invitation from the EU-based host party. Additionally, members of the media technical crew (videographers, sound editors, etc.) are also eligible for the simplified visa application procedure.
The new law also offers simplified visa procedures to spouses, children (including adopted) parents (including custodians), grandparents and grandchildren, who intend to visit citizens of Ukraine legally residing in the territory of the EU member states.
On March 22, 2013, Ukrainian parliament ratified the amendments to the visa facilitation agreement signed between Ukraine and the European Union on July 23, 2012 in Brussels.
Reportedly, the European Parliament is scheduled to review the agreement between Ukraine and the European Union introducing amendments to the visa facilitation agreement between Ukraine and the European Community on April 17, 2013.
The visa liberalisation dialogue between the parties was initialed in 2006. Currently, Ukraine is at stage one of the two-step Action Plan on Visa Liberalisation.