After the Visa Facilitation Agreement between the EU and Armenia came into effect on January 1, 2014, the EU visa issuance process has become simpler and shorter for Armenia citizens.
The results of the monitoring introduced in Yerevan today and conducted Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation (ACGRC) and Open Society Foundations-Armenia come to prove it. Author of the report Nikolay Israelyan said that three main changes have been effected after the agreement entered into force:
Visa process has become much simpler – fewer documents are required,
Schengen visa costs less – Armenian citizens now pay EUR 35 instead of the previous EUR 60, Visa issuance decision is made within a shorter time period – within 10 days.
Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea said the EU highlights the monitoring of the implementation of the agreement and has specifically stressed the role of Armenian civil society in this matter.
“Since the agreement came into effect a few months ago, this report provides a chance to have a basic notion of how it is carried out and to outline the challenges that will require further emphasis”, said Traian Hristea.
To prepare the report, the activities of diplomatic missions and consular offices of EU member states (Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Lithuania, Greece) in Armenia, Passport and Visa Office of Police of the Republic of Armenia and State Migration Service of Ministry of Territorial Administration of the Republic of Armenia have been studied. The official websites of the consular sections of those countries have also been under review to understand to what extent the information they provide is comprehensible for Armenian citizens.
The report also encloses the answers to surveys sent to consular offices according to which visa denials of the Embassy of Poland in Armenia accounted for 14% of total applications (407 visas were issued and 59 denied), visa denials of the Embassy of Italy accounted for 7% (1867 visas were granted and 135 denied) and visa denials of the Embassy of Germany accounted for around 10%.
Mediamax recalls that on December 17, 2012, Armenia and EU signed Visa Facilitation Agreement in Brussels. On October 9, 2013, the EU Parliament approved this agreement which clearly speculates the groups of citizens who are eligible to get visas through the simplified procedure. Among them are representatives of state and official Armenian delegations, people who have relatives in EU states, students, people traveling to the EU on academic, cultural, scientific and treatment purposes and persons accompanying them, people who have received an invitation from Armenian Diaspora organizations in the EU, etc.