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Ukraine, EU Advance on Visa Facilitation Agreement

KYIV, Ukraine, January 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously concluded that the amendments to the EU-Ukraine agreement on visa facilitation should be approved. This was reported by the Mission of Ukraine to the EU. The vote marked yet another step towards the ratification and implementation of the norms, provisioned in the document.

"By this decision the members of the European Parliament demonstrated consistency in their support of the gradual introduction of the visa-free regime for the citizens of Ukraine," commented Kostyantyn Yeliseyev , Ukraine's ambassador to the EU.

Signed in July 2012, the Agreement between the EU and Ukraine amending the Agreement between the European Community and Ukraine on the facilitation of the issuance of visas simplifies visa procedure for a string of categories of Ukrainian citizens. NGO members, members of professional and religious organizations travelling to participate in international forums and exchange programs will be subject to gratis visas. The document facilitates the increase of the categories privileged to the issuance of long-term multiple-entry visas.

Notably, Ukrainian journalists will be able to apply for visas with a reference from their Ukraine-based employer instead of submitting the invitation from the EU-based host party. Additionally, members of the media technical crew (cameramen, sound editors, etc.) will also be subject to simplified visa procedure.

The document limits visa fees, engagement of the middleman companies in visa procedures and the time it takes to wait before submitting a visa application. Additionally, the holders of biometric service passports will be allowed to enter the EU without visas for short term visits (under 90 days).

The next step in bringing the agreement to life is voting by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home affairs Committee of the EP, followed by the ratification of the document at the EP plenary session, as well as the approval by the Council of the European Union.

To eliminate ID fraud and improve border security between Ukraine and the EU, Ukraine approved the introduction of biometric IDs. Visa liberalisation plan between the EU and the Eastern European country required Ukraine to increase document security, including the introduction of biometric IDs.

The visa liberalisation dialogue between the parties was initialed in 2006. Currently, Ukraine is at stage one of the two-step Action Plan on Visa Liberalisation.

SOURCE Worldwide News Ukraine
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