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Agreements with the countries of the Western Balkans on the facilitation of the issuance of visas

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The agreements concluded between the European Union (EU) and the countries of the Western Balkans on facilitating the issuance of visas are intended to simplify and speed up the procedures for issuing visas to nationals of these Western Balkan countries. These agreements are, in principle, coupled with readmission agreements.

ACT

Council Decision 2007/821/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Albania on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/822/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/823/EC of 8 November on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Montenegro on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/824/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

Council Decision 2007/825/EC of 8 November 2007 on the conclusion of the Agreement between the European Community and the Republic of Serbia on the facilitation of the issuance of visas.

SUMMARY

The agreements concluded with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ("partner countries") are intended to facilitate the issuance of short-stay visas to citizens of these countries for stays of up to 90 days per period of 180 days.

When applying for such short-stay visas, citizens of these partner countries benefit from simplified document requirements for justifying the purpose of their journey to the European Union (EU). The documentary evidence to be presented consists of formal documents, such as a written request from the host organisation or other certificate, depending on the category of the applicant (business people, drivers for international transportation services, journalists, students, persons travelling for tourism or for medical reasons, representatives of civil society organisations, etc.).

EU countries’ diplomatic missions and consular posts may issue multiple-entry visas that are valid for up to five years to: members of the governments, parliaments, constitutional courts and supreme courts of partner countries; permanent members of official delegations; spouses and children under the age of 21 visiting citizens of partner countries legally residing in the territory of an EU country. The categories of persons who benefit from simplified document requirements may also be granted multiple-entry visas with a maximum validity period of one year. However, the person concerned must have obtained and used at least one visa during the previous year and have valid reasons for requesting a multiple-entry visa. If such a person has made use of the one-year multiple-entry visa during the previous two years, s/he may be granted a multiple-entry visa that is valid a minimum of two and a maximum of five years.

The standard fee for processing visa applications of partner countries’ citizens is 35 euros. This is waived for certain categories of persons, including close relatives, members of official delegations, students, disabled persons, children under the age of six, journalists, pensioners and drivers for international transportation services.

Visas are issued within 10 days of the receipt of the application. This may be extended to up to 30 days when further scrutiny of the application is needed or may be reduced to 3 days or even less in emergencies.

Background

The participants at the EU-Western Balkans Summit held in Thessaloniki on 21 June 2003 ("Thessaloniki Agenda") agreed on the principle of liberalisation of the visa regime and began negotiations with a view to concluding the necessary agreements. This process, coupled with discussions on the conclusion of readmission agreements, resulted on 8 November 2007 in the adoption of a series of Council decisions, one for each of the partner countries, establishing the conclusion of agreements based on Article 62, taken in conjunction with Article 300, of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now Articles 77 and 218 respectively of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

REFERENCES

Acts Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2007/821/EC

8.11.2007

-

OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/822/EC

8.11.2007

-

OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/823/EC

8.11.2007

-

OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/824/EC

8.11.2007

-

OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Decision 2007/825/EC

8.11.2007

-

OJ L 334, 19.12.2007

Last updated: 09.05.2011
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