News in Europe from the field of visa policies


» 17.5.2013 Visa facilitation agreement with EU comes into force July 1

The Council of the European Union officially notified Moldova of the finalization of the internal EU procedures needed for the amendments to the visa facilitation agreement to take effect. They will come into force on July 1, IPN reports.

According to a communiqué from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, the amended agreement facilitates short-stay visas for visits of up to a total of 90 days, calculated over a period of 180 days. Read more here!


» 9.4.2013 Visa-free travel only for countries that offer the same to EU citizens, say MEPs

The EU could soon be able to reintroduce visa requirements for countries that do not allow European citizens vis-free travel, under new rules approved by the EP's civil liberties committee on 8 April. Under the proposal the EU would also be able to suspend visa-free travel in the case of a drastic or sudden increase in the number of migrants or unfounded asylum applications, but only as a last resort. The new rules will still have to be agreed by member states before they can enter into force. Read more here!


» 10.1.2013 EU Rights Clinic: press-release and material available online

Today the official launch of the EU Rights Clinic and hotline, run by ECAS and the University of Kent in Brussels, took place at the Press Club Brussels Europe.

The launch was intentionally timed to coincide with the official launch of the European Year of Citizens 2013 in order to symbolise and underscore the need to take a proactive attitude in tackling the gap between EU citizen’s rights in theory and in practice. Read the press release!


» 24.10.2012 Populism in Brussels? How to solve the Balkan asylum crisis

Is the EU edging closer to making a fundamental and strategic mistake by restoring the visa requirement for citizens of the Western Balkans?

At this moment the interior ministers of six EU countries - Germany, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden - are pushing for a reversal of the most significant decision made in the past decade to further the European integration of the Western Balkans. The issue is also on the agenda of the justice and home affairs council on 25/26 October this week. Find out more !


» 18.9.2012 Poland wants to continue issuing as many visas to Eastern Europe as possible

Poland wants to continue granting as many visas to Eastern Europe – assured the Foreign Ministry at a recent meeting with NGOs. Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to criticism of these solutions in visa policy, which according to the NGO’s are ineffective. Read more !


» 28.8.2012 Contacts between people: EU visa policies and Eastern Partnership countries: Prospects and barriers for visa-liberalization

Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation (ACGRC) with the support of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Czech Republic launches a project: “Contacts between people: EU visa policies and Eastern Partnership countries: Prospects and barriers for visa-liberalization”. Liberalization of people-to-people contacts via visa free travel with the EU is one of the main political priorities for the Eastern Partnership countries as well as it is the issue of high importance for the societies. The implementation of specific components of Visa Liberalization process has already started in the Eastern Partnership states; however the big distance remains between different partner states in their progress towards the visa free travel for their citizens. Read more !


» 1.8.2012 Letter about the appeal to the Moldovian visa facilitation


» 1.8.2012 Moldovan citizens to travel to the EU without visas by 2013

The Moldovan citizens are likely to travel to the European Union without visas by mid-2013, Deputy Prime Minister, Iurie Leanca said today.

At a news conference, Leanca noted that he is sure that Moldova will manage to meet the needed conditions to enjoy a visa free regime with the EU by the middle of the next year. Read more !


» 24.7.2012 Commission amends visa facilitation agreement for citizens of Ukraine

The European Commission signed an amended Visa Facilitation Agreement with Ukraine in Brussels today, further facilitating people-to-people contacts and strengthening ties between the citizens of Ukraine and the European Union.

"The amendments of the agreement with Ukraine will further facilitate people to people contacts and make it easier for ordinary Ukrainian citizens who want to travel to Europe. The changes will facilitate travelling for, amongst others, representatives of the civil society, NGOs and journalists", said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs.

Read more here!


» 8.7.2012 Montenegro and the EU

On 29 June 2012 Montenegro has started EU accession negotiations. Barely six years after declaring independence, Montenegro has overtaken Macedonia on the EU accession path and left all other Western Balkan countries, with the exception of Croatia, behind.

Read more !


» 7.7.2012 Turkey takes major step towards a visa liberalisation

On 21 June 2012, the EU and Turkey took the first concrete step towards a Schengen visa liberalisation process for Turkey. While EU member states formally invited the European Commission to launch the process, the European Commission and Turkey initialled a readmission agreement.

With this accomplished, later this autumn the European Commission is expected to present Turkey with an action plan on visa liberalisation, which will list the conditions that Turkey will have to meet in order to qualify for visa-free travel.

Read more !


» 26.6.2012 Turks do not want to live in the EU any more

Turkey says future visa-free travel will work out well because Turks no longer want to live in the EU.

Its European affairs minister Egemen Bagis told EUobserver on Friday (22 June) that Turks these days travel to EU capitals "to spend [money]" in shops and hotels. "In the past, when Turks were asked do you want to live in Europe, 80 percent would say Yes. Now, 85 percent say No. Turkish citizens feel there is more hope in Turkey, better job opportunities," he said. He noted that in 2010, 27,000 Turks went to live in Germany, but 35,000 German citizens moved to Turkey.

Read more !


» 20.6.2012 Turkey hopes for EU visa breakthrough this week

Turkey is aiming to tell its 75 million citizens on Thursday (21 June) they can visit the EU without visas in a couple of years' time.

The breakthrough concerns a technical step designed to end a toxic stalemate. The EU had in the past said Turkey must first sign a readmission agreement on illegal migrants, while Turkey had said the EU should make the first move.

But on Wednesday, EU ambassadors are expected to task the European Commission with drafting an Action Plan for Turkish reforms on passport and border standards.

Read more! The answer available on this page !


» 25.5.2012 Georgia with highest EU visa refusal rate

 Citing a recent survey by recent Tbilisi Liberal Academy, Georgian Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze said Georgia received the highest EU visa refusal rate in the region, Civil Georgia reported.

He said, “Visa rejection is very serious problem… At the same time, however, Georgia is leading with regards to visa permission.” Noting the growing number of rejected visa applications, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has discussed the issue. More information here!


» 24.5.2012 Turkey mulls formula for visa-free Europe

Turkey has stepped up pressure on the E.U. in a bid to ensure that the European Council gives the go-ahead for talks on a visa-free travel regime for Turkish nationals. Previous initiatives failed last year when the European Council asked Turkey to sign a readmission agreement, saying they would return to the visa issue later. After negotiations on the simultaneous timing of signing the readmission agreement, the parties agreed on a formula which would be a step toward removing visa requirements for Turkish nationals. A verbal statement authorizing the European Commission to start talks with Ankara on visa exemption would be a step forward, despite the possibility that some E.U. member states may stir up trouble later. Read more here!


» 24.5.2012 Belarus Against Simplifying Visa Regime with EU

Belarusian Ambassador to Germany Andrei Giro believes that now "it’s not the most appropriate moment to discuss facilitation of the visa regime with the European Union, when more than 200 Belarusian officials can’t even go to the West." He said this on May 21 during the debate in the Bundestag on Germany and the EU’s policy towards Belarus. More here!


» 22.5.2012 Otwarta Europa - Fundacja im. Stefana Batorego

New initiative against visa issues. Visa is a border - we all know that. Please, take a look at the comic srip!


» 22.3.2012 ESI meeting President Gul and EU ambassadors in Ankara to discuss visa free travel for Turks

On 22 March, senior project advisory board members Giuliano Amato, former prime and interior minister of Italy, and Otto Schily, former minister of interior of Germany, as well as ESI analysts Gerald Knaus, Alexandra Stiglmayer, Nigar Goksel, and representatives of the Mercator Foundation, which supports the ESI Turkey visa project, met with President Abdullah Gul to discuss ESI's proposal to achieve visa free travel for Turkey.

Read at: !


» 26.2.2012 The Impact of Armenian-Turkish Bilateral Projects and Initiatives on Young People

The role of civil society actors in Armenian-Turkish relations grew over the past years and that is obvious. But do these projects and initiatives reach their goals? Do they change opinions and break stereotypes of people, who live in societies full of prejudices and negative attitudes towards each other? Are they successful or there is no need to spend money on such kind of initiatives until there is a political will? This survey will try to give an answer and find out if CS programs and initiatives are really useful and if they break stereotypes of young Armenians and Turks about each other. The Web survey was conducted in Armenia and Turkey from December 15, 2011 to January 15, 2012. 

More at:!


» 19.1.2012 Commission launches dialogue with Kosovo on visa free travel

Today, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström launched a visa liberalisation dialogue with Kosovo in Pristina. The aim of this dialogue is to eventually lift the visa obligation for citizens of Kosovo. This will only be possible, however, once the Government of Kosovo has implemented substantial reforms in key areas such as the security of travel documents; border, migration and asylum management; public order and security issues (notably the fight against organised crime and corruption) and fundamental rights issues related to the freedom of movement.

Read here: !


» 20.11.2011 Visas highlighted as irritant in EU-Turkey relations

Turkish EU affairs minister Egemen Bagis has again highlighted the EU's visa regime as a source of friction in EU-Turkey relations, but EU officials deny there is a big problem.


» 15.11.2011 Ukraine-Moldova race to EU visa-free regime

We all speak about Visa Freedom, and we are contributing to achieve a borderless Europe. On the other hand, it are the politicians that should take their responsibility to achieve visa liberalisation as well. Today a nice article in EU Observer about the progress the governments of Ukraine and Moldova made in the past year. In December Russia will publish its progress...


» 26.10.2011 On EU-Russia visa-free travel (Part 2)

This is a continuation of Part 1 EU-Russia visa-free travel.


» 15.09.2011 On EU-Russia visa free travel

Interesting background article about visa policies is published at EU Observer. Read the article and understand more of European politics!


» 29.7.2011 EU to ease travel for residents of Russian enclave

European Commission has finally published its proposal for a visa agreement for all citizens of the Russian Kaliningrad enclove to enter the borderzone with Poland and Lithuania:


» 11.7.2011 Turkish business wants visa-free regime with Bulgaria

Turkish business calls for easing the visa regime with Bulgaria. It was clear from the words of Deputy President of the Turkish-Bulgarian Industrial Chamber of Commerce Mustafa Yardamcha during a joint business forum in case the visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul in the country.

Translation to English:


» 31.5.2011 Turkey, Georgia introduce passport-free travel!

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are expected to attend an opening ceremony Tuesday for the modernized Sarp customs point to mark the passport-free travel agreement between the neighboring countries.


» 20.5.2011 Visa procedure simplification for Turkey

Since July, the procedure of getting a visa for Turkish citizens travelling to Europe (EU, Schengen area) will be simplified, shortened and cheaper. For more information, check: and for English (not so good) translation:

In case that you (Turkish citizen) are travelling to Europe, please check the info for visa procedure of your destination country anyway - there may be still some special requests !


» 29.4.2011 VFA for Armenia 

Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsian expressed hope today that the visa facilitation agreement with the European Union can be signed by the end of the year 2011. Read more: !!


» 10.4.2011 Visa-free Macedonia and Serbia for Ukrainians

From May 10th 2011 till October 31st 2011 Ukrainians don't need visa to come to Macedonia and Serbia. What they need to cross the border : passport, insurance policy and confirmation of certain amount of money available on the credit card.

Please read more here:


» 18.1.2011 Easier visa for Georgian students

From 1st of March 2011, students of Georgia can obtain easier visa for cultural exchanges and academic seminars as the Visa Facilitation Agreement entered into force. More information in the press release.


» 8.10.2010 Visa Liberalisation in the CIS

The Visa Liberalisation Subgroup met in the framework of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum on October 7-8 2010. Here you can find the summary of current state-of-play with visa liberalisation.