The European Union has concluded visa facilitation agreements with the following countries (in brackets: date of signature):
the Russian Federation (25 May 2006)
Ukraine (18 June 2007)
the Republic of Moldova (10 October 2007)
Serbia (18 September 2007)
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (18 September 2007)
Montenegro (18 September 2007)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (18 September 2007)
Albania (18 September 2007)
Georgia (17 June 2010)
The visa facilitation agreement with Russia entered into force on 1 June 2007, the remaining agreements – with the exception of the agreement with Georgia - on 1 January 2008. The visa facilitation agreement with Georgia entered into force on 1 March 2011.
The agreements which all have a similar content and structure apply to planned stays in the Schengen area of up to 90 days in any half-year (short stays). They apply to nationals of these countries all around the world.
Visa liberalization for nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia
On 19 December 2009, visa requirements for nationals from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia were lifted for stays in the Schengen area of up to 90 days in any half-year, insofar as they are holders of a biometric passport (c.f. Annex II, Part I of the EU Visa Regulation).
Visa requirements were also lifted for nationals of Albania as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina for stays in the Schengen area of up to 90 days in any half-year with effect from 15 December 2010. This also only applies to holders of biometric passports. Nationals not in possession of a biometric passport still require a visa in which case the aforementioned visa facilitation agreements apply.
Nationals of Kosovo remain subject to visa requirements even if they have a Serbian passport.
Key points of the agreements
The main points are:
simplification of the documentary evidence regarding the purpose of the journey (Article 4 applying for example to official delegations, business people, lorry drivers, journalists, pupils and students as well as close relatives)
Increased issuance of multiple-entry visas to certain groups (applying to same groups as above)
visa processing fee fundamentally set at 35 euro (Article 6) with various exemptions from visa fees (for example for family visits)
processing time of 10 days after submission of application (Article 7)
abolition of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic passports (Article 10 or 11)