MOSCOW, December 25 (Itar-Tass) —— The diplomatic missions of the EU member states in Russia will start using a unified list of documents for issuing Schengen visas from January 14, 2013.
“On December 20, EU representatives officially circulated a unified list of documents required for a Schengen visa, which will be used by consular missions of the EU member countries in Russia from January 14, 2013,” the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, December 25.
This step is a result of intensive negotiations conducted by the joint committee for monitoring the implementation of the Russia-EU Visa Facilitation Agreement of 2006.
The list will be posted on the websites of the embassies and consulates general of the U member states as well as on the Foreign Ministry’s website at http://www.kdmid.ru/info.aspx.
Last year, head of the EU delegation to Russia Fernando Valenzuela said that Russian citizens could count on five-year Schengen visas.
The abolition of visa formalities is a complex step, which requires big effort and time, he said, noting that the EU was prepared to facilitate visa formalities at the moment.
The European Union has considered various categories of citizens that may have visa preferences, but this does not mean visa-free travel, Valenzuela said.
If a Russian citizen is issued a EU visa once and no complaints have been made about his or her stay in Europe, he or she may receive a five-year visa next time, but this decision will not be mechanical, he said.
The European Union’s Common Code on Visas, also known as the Visa Code, entered into force in April of 2010.
The agreement between the EU and Russia on simplified visa procedures, which became effective on June 1, 2007, remains in force and guarantees better visa terms to Russians travelling to Europe than citizens of third countries have, including a fixed visa fee of 35 euros, the EU Delegation to Russia said earlier.
The agreement between the EU and Russia on the facilitation of issuance of visas applies symmetrically to Russians travelling to the EU and to EU citizens travelling to Russia.
In addition to the fixed visa fee, it simplifies the list of the required documents, reduces the period of time during which a visa application should be considered from 15 to 10 days, and cancels the visa fee for a broad circle of people.
However visa-free travel between Russia and the EU remains an unconditional priority for Moscow, a Kremlin official said earlier.