The European Commission has published new guidance on the suspension of visa facilitation for some Russian nationals, and on general visa issuance in relation to Russian national applicants.
The visa facilitation agreement, suspended on 25 February 2022, enabled expedited processing and a reduction in fees.
The partial suspension targets specific categories of persons close to the regime: it applies to Russian citizens who are members of the Russian Federation’s official delegations; members of the Russian Federation’s national and regional Governments and Parliaments; the Russian Federation’s Constitutional Court and the Russian Federation Supreme Court; citizens of the Russian Federation holding valid diplomatic passports; as well as business people and representatives of business organisations
The suspension means that these groups no longer have privileged access to the European Union. As an example, the documentary evidence to be issued ahead of a journey is no longer waived, and the fees for processing of visa applications are no longer reduced, meaning that the standard €80 visa fee applies by default.
The suspension does not affect ordinary Russian citizens, who continue enjoying the same benefits under the agreement as they currently do.
The guidelines are intended to help Member States and their consulates in applying the partial suspension, clarify the procedures and conditions for issuing visas to Russian citizens in any given consular location of the EU and ensure that visa issuance on humanitarian grounds should always remain possible.
- Effective 7 May 2022, the following regions are newly assigned a dark red colour code:
- Spain: La Rioja, Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadura
- Finland: Åland
- The full list of colour codes for the EU countries and regions is here.
- Third countries on the white list:
- Bahrain, Chile, China (dark red), Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kuwait, Macau, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay.
- All other third countries that are not on the white list are designated dark red or grey.
- As of 9 May 2022, there are no countries on the very high-risk countries list.
- Effective 16 May 2022, The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued an update to the health safety measures for air travel, paving the way for a relaxation of the need to wear medical masks on board a flight.
- However, rules for masks in particular will continue to vary by airline beyond that date. For example, flights to or from a destination where mask-wearing is still required on public transport should continue to encourage mask wearing, according to the recommendations. Vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.
- Effective 11 May 2022, the EU recognizes the equivalence of COVID-19 certificates issued by Indonesia, Seychelles and Vietnam.
- These countries are now connected to the EU system and their COVID-19 certificates will be accepted in the EU under the same conditions as the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC).
- These countries have also agreed to accept the EUDCC for travel from the EU to their countries.
- So far, the following non-EU countries are participating in the EU Digital COVID Certificate system: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Benin, Cabo Verde, Colombia, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vietnam and the Vatican.
- Effective 9 May 2022:
- Countries are no longer classified as red or dark red.
- The need for pre-travel authorization by the Superintendent of Public Health from countries which until now are on the dark red list is no longer needed.
- All inbound travellers must present either a recognized valid COVID-19 vaccine certificate; OR a recovery certificate; OR a negative PCR test taken not more than 72 hours prior to arrival; OR a negative rapid antigen test taken not more than 24 hours prior to arrival.
- Children under 6 are exempt from the requirement to prove their COVID-19 status.
- If none of these documents is presented on arrival, a 10-day mandatory quarantine will apply, which is reduced to 7 days following a negative test.