Commission proposes full suspension of Visa facilitation agreement with Russia

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AGM Abogados

On September 7th 2022 the European Commission has proposed fully suspension of the EU’s Visa facilitation agreement with Russia (those facilitations were related to visa fees, processing time, multiple-entry visas and supporting documents to accredit the travel and visa application).  The Commission requested the suspension of the Visa facilitation agreement as a response of the risks and threats to the Union’s security interest as a result of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. The measure will imply that Russian citizens will no longer enjoy privileged access to the EU and face a lengthier, more expensive, and more difficult visa application process. Member States will have wide discretion in processing short – stay visa application from Russian citizens.

The ending privileged access to the EU for Russian Citizens will imply that general rules of the Visa Code will apply instead: a higher visa fee (35€ to 80€); increased processing time (10-15 days to maximum 45 days); more restrictive rules on multiple – entry visa (applications will no longer have easy access to visas valid for multiple entries to the Schengen area); a longer list of supporting documents (simplified list to a full list of documentary evidence when applying for a visa).

Additionally, to this abovementioned measure the Commission has also proposed a non-recognition of Russian passports issued in occupied regions of Ukraine (in particulars Kherson and Zaparizhzhia regions).

After Commissions proposal now is time for the Council to examine and adopt the measures. Once adopted, the suspension will enter into force immediately the second day following its publication in the EU Official Journal.  From the information provided by the European Commission as of 1 September 2022, around 963.000 Russians held valid visas to the Schengen area.

On March 15th 2022, Spain had already suspended some of the residence permits regulated in the Entrepreneur Law (Act 14/2013 of September 27th, of support to entrepreneurs and their internationalization) as regards Investors and Entrepreneurs permits (including relatives). This decision has taken according to article 27.4 of the Spanish General Immigration Law.

Despite all these restrictions that affect and will continue to affect Russian citizens wishing to travel or live in an EU country, in Spain it is still possible to apply for residence permits/visas for Russians wishing to work for a Spanish company (such as highly qualified permits, internship residence for more junior profiles or soon international teleworking).

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