EU eases Armenian visa requirements
BRUSSELS - Hürriyet Daily News
Hürriyet PhotoThe European Union signed an agreement with Armenia’s capital city Yerevan to ease visa requirements for Armenians traveling abroad.
The Armenian Representative to the EU, Ambassador Avet Adonts, and Director-General for Home Affairs at the European Commission Stefano Manservisi signed a preliminary deal in Brussels concerning visa facilitation and readmission between Armenia and the European Union on Oct. 18, Public Radio of Armenia said on its website.
The document is expected to be finalized later this year in December and enter the ratification stage in the first half of 2013.
The Visa Facilitation Agreement will lower visa fees for all Armenian citizens and waive fees for certain populations such as family members and pensioners for a maximum processing time of 10 calendar days. The agreement will also simplify supporting document requirements, increase the number of multiple-entry visas issued for certain categories such as business people, lorry drivers and journalists and establish visa-free travel for diplomatic passport holders while enhancing mobility in a secure and well-managed environment. The cost of Shengen visas will be cut to 35 Euros.
The ultimate goal of the agreement is to enable a visa-free Europe for Armenian citizens, Anatolia news agency reported.
The Armenian government announced Oct. 4 that starting next year, citizens of EU member states will no longer need visas to enter the country, Armenian newspaper Asbarez reported on its website. The new regulation goes into effect Jan. 10, 2013, and means EU nationals will be allowed to stay in Armenia visa-free for up to 90 days each year.
The EU is also discussing easing fee requirements with other countries in the region such as Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan.
The transition to visa-free travel between Russia and the EU is an important tool in creating a common space from the Atlantic to the Pacific, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Oct. 15, according to Interfax news agency. The list of joint steps that the European Union and “Russia should take to achieve this objective is being implemented and a report will be delivered to the Russia-EU summit in December on how these steps are taken and what remains to be done,” Lavrov said.
Meanwhile, Turkey and the EU formally launched the visa exemption process for Turkish citizens June 20, when Turkey’s permanent representative to the EU signed the Readmission Agreement in Brussels.
Turkey met three of the EU’s criteria by introducing biometric passports, improving its border security standards and signing the Readmission Agreement, which will require Turkey to accept illegal immigrants fleeing EU countries through Turkey.