EU Parliament approves visa-free regime for Ukraine. What are the new rules for crossing the border?

It is expected that Ukrainians will be able to travel without visas since the mid-June. Photo: http://zn.ua 

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The afternoon of the April 6 was a historical moment when the news was delivered by the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. In the middle of the 10th Security Forum in Kyiv, Mr. President interrupted the speech of the former Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk to announce that the EU Parliament has voted for visa-free regime for Ukraine.

The decision was supported by 521 MPs. 75 voted against and 36 abstained. This was one out of 7 steps towards visa liberalization. The next one is the voting of Ambassadors of EU member states once again who will endorse the adopted decision and bring it to the agenda of the meeting of Ministers. The step will take place on April 26.

Read also: Ukrainians to travel visa-free to the EU in mid-June: detailed calendar

The news was warmly welcomed by Ukrainians. However, there are still a lot of myths and questions on how exactly the visa free regime will work.

Yevropeiska Pravda collected all of them and explained the new rules for crossing the border.

Biometric passports. According to the rules applicable to all countries to which the visa liberalization was applied, the right to cross the border without visas will be granted only to people with biometric passports. Ukrainians with the old-style passports without chips will need to get visas.

Package of documents. There are fears among Ukrainians that they will have to provide a set of additional documents at the border to cross it, such as bank receipts, travel and accomodation proof. However, according to the Schengen border code, there are no any additional requirements to visa-free travelers. The border rules remain the same for those who travel with or without visas. Crossing the border is allowed for those:

  • who have the document which allows to travel (passport),
  • who can justify the aim of their traveling,
  • who have enough finances for being on the territory of the EU,
  • who are not in the list of persons who are forbidden to enter the EU,
  • who is not possessing a threat for civil order, security, civil health and international relationships.

For those who travel in business reasons there might be the following requirements on the border:

  • meeting invitation, or
  • other document confirming trade or business relationship,
  • ticket to exhibition or other meeting if the aim of travel is its attending.

For tourists and those who travel in private purposes the possible requirements apply:

  • accommodation reservation or invitation (in official) if a person is going to stay with friends;
  • a return ticket (if a person is traveling by car, it is not a requirement);
  • route or plan of the trip.

Read more: Mission Accomplished: Visa-free Europe for Georgia | Infographic

Documents from bank, the documents about property etc. There is a widespread myth among Ukrainians that now all the documents which they had to provide to an Embassy (like statement from a bank on their assets, documents which confirm where the money were taken etc.) they will now have to show on the border. However, there is no such a requirement from the EU. A person who crosses the border might be required that he has sufficient amount of money to travel to the EU in the following ways:

  • cash,
  • traveler’s checks,
  • paid accommodation and tickets,
  • financial guarantees from a host,
  • credit cards.

In all of these cases, the border control guards should not demand any documents that the travelers don’t take with themselves anyway.

There are certain fears related to visa liberalization among the EU citzens. For example, that the visa liberalization will accelerate the process of a country to become a member state or that citizens of a country which received a visa free regime will occupy the positions in the EU companies. Both of it is not true. The visa regime is an archaic instrument, and the EU is trying to cancel it, keeping it only for the countries with a high level of visa denials.

Read more: Why Europe’s fears of lifting visa for Ukraine are groundless

Regarding working rights, Ukrainians will have to have a working visa to be employed in the EU just as before. Also those entering the EU have to stick to the rule of 90 days – to stay not more than 90 days per 180 days.

Visa liberalisation for Ukraine will deliver greater freedom and more common opportunities, says Greens/EFA MEP and Euronest co-president Rebecca Harms:

Visa liberalisation for Ukraine is a long-awaited and overdue step, and sends a strong signal: we belong together. This move recognizes and builds upon the wishes of the great many Ukrainians who feel orientated towards the West and will strengthen relations between EU citizens and Ukrainians.”

It is expected that Ukrainians will be able to travel without visas since the mid-June.

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