16 June 2010

Visa Free Travel for Ukrainians?

This is a topic we have discussed many times over the past few years.
What would happen if Ukrainians were given Visa Free travel throughout the EU?
Cynics would say "They will all come to find work in western Europe".
More thoughtful types would probably say "Good, they can enjoy taking holidays and business trips in the EU just like the rest of us".

But to be frank....its a tall order to expect the EU Schengen states to agree complete visa free travel for Ukrainians. Those of us who live in Kyiv see the queues of people each day outside Embassies and Consular Offices of EU member countries waiting to find out if their visa applications have been accepted.
Many Ukrainians feel thay are treated like second class citizens in this process and most of us agree with them. Its a degrading time consuming process that they must go through even if they only need a business trip visa for a few days.

Many British citizens living in Ukraine are married to Ukrainians. But there are no guarantees that when you wish to visit the UK with your wife/husband that the UK Border Agency/UK Visa Office in Kyiv will grant the necessary visa. Nor does it matter that you have travelled with your wife/husband to the UK and many other countries around the world, you MUST make the same lengthy visa application each and every time you want to travel. I remind people also that the UK is not part of the Shengen visa agreement. So, tall oder or not, there has to be some changes for the better we all hope.

Catherine Ashton from the EU has said that a new active phase in the dialogue on visa free travel between Kyiv and Brussels has started and is likely to see its first results by the EU-Ukraine summit scheduled for this winter.

Ashton said this on Tuesday in Luxembourg at a press conference held after the meeting of the Ukraine-EU Cooperation Council attended by Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

"On June 9, at the ministerial meeting, we agreed to move to what we describe as a fully operational phase of visa dialog. It means it will be based on an Action Plan that will take us towards visa liberalization. It's a really important step," Ashton said. She expressed hope the two sides would be able to demonstrate their adherence to their commitments by the time of the Ukraine-EU summit


simon said...

I'm English, living in Kharkov. We wanted to visit family in the UK for 9 days, my Ukraine wife and 2 step daughters. We were turned down for Visas had to reapply and finally got them the day we flew out ! VFS Global seemed to everything possible to make the process difficult.
A friend of ours grandaughter just had her holiday visa refused because she didn't have 2 pages empty in her passport, her 2 empty pages needed to turned over, this wasn't exceptable either !

simon said...

I am English living and working in Kharkov, we had our visitor visas refused the 1st time. VFS Global seemed to do everything possible to refuse my Ukrainian wife and 2 step daughters in getting a 9 day visitor visa to UK. A friend of ours grandaughter cannot get a holiday visa for UK because the 2 empty pages that is required in her passport are not on opposing pages !