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EU-Russia agreement on Visa facilitation

The agreement eases the procedures for issuing short-stay visas –i.e. for intended stays of no more than 90 days- to Russian and EU citizens travelling to the Schengen Member States – all EU Member States except the UK, Ireland and Denmark – and the Russian Federation respectively. The following facilitations are covered by the agreement:

Shorter period of processing the visa application

In principle, for all visa applicants, a decision on whether or not to issue a visa will have to be taken within 10 calendar days. This period may be extended up to 30 days when further scrutiny is needed. In urgent cases (such as the death of a close relative), the period for taking a decision may be reduced to 3 days or less;

Documents to be presented have been simplified

Documents to be submitted when applying for a short-term visa:

  • a valid travel document (passport); Passport has to be valid at least for three months after the end of validity of the visa and must contain at least two free pages;
  • application; (231.04 KB, PDF)
  • photo;
  • a valid health insurance certificate (the minimum rate for limit of indemnity in the health insurance agreement is 469,400 EEK (30 000 €) for the whole period of stay in Estonia);
  • documents certifying the existence of sufficient monetary means during the stay in Estonia.
  • document certifying the payment of state fee or document certifying the exemption from paying state fee;
  • documents proving the purpose of the travel and the reason for it

The documents to be presented have been simplified for some categories of persons:

  1. members of official delegations;
  2. business people and representatives of business organizations;
  3. drivers conducting international cargo and passenger transportation services between the territories of the Russian Federation and the Member States;
  4. members of train, refrigerator and locomotive crews in international trains;
  5. journalists;
  6. persons participating in scientific, cultural and artistic activities including university and other exchange programmes; 
  7. pupils, students, post-graduate students and accompanying teachers who undertake trips for the purposes of study or educational training;
  8. participants in international sports events and persons accompanying them in a professional capacity;
  9. participants in official exchange programmes organised by twin cities;
  10. close relatives - spouses, children, parents, grandparents and grandchildren - visiting citizens of the European Union or the Russian Federation legally residing in the territory of the Russian Federation or the Member States
  11. visiting military and civil burial grounds

Unified visa fee

The visa fees applied by Russia have been substantially reduced by aligning them to the Schengen visa fee (i.e. 35 €). This fee will be applied to all EU and Russian citizens (including tourists) and concerns both single and multiple-entry visas. There is a possibility of charging a higher fee of 70 € in case of urgent requests, where the visa application and supporting documents are submitted by the visa applicant only three days or less before his/her departure. This does not apply to cases related to humanitarian or health reasons, and death of relatives.

Moreover, certain categories of persons benefit from a waiving of the visa fee:

  • close relatives - spouses, children, parents, grandparents and grandchildren;
  • members of official delegations;
  • members of national and regional Governments and Parliaments, Constitutional Courts and Supreme Courts;
  • pupils, students, post-graduate students and accompanying teachers who undertake trips for the purpose of study or educational training;
  • disabled persons and the person accompanying them, if necessary;
  • humanitarian cases - including to receive urgent medical treatment and the person accompanying such person, or to attend a funeral of a close relative, or to visit a close relative seriously ill;
  • participants in youth international sports events and persons accompanying them;
  • persons participating in scientific, cultural and artistic activities including university and other exchange programmes;
  • participants in official exchange programmes organised by twin cities.

Simplified criteria for issuing multiple-entry visas

multiple-entry visas with the term of validity of up to five years to the following categories of citizens:

  • members of national and regional Governments and Parliaments, Constitutional Courts and Supreme Courts - with a term of validity limited to their term of office if this is less than 5 years;
  • spouses and children (including adopted), who are under the age of 21 or are dependant - with the term of validity limited to the duration of the validity of their authorisation for legal residence.

multiple-entry visas with the term of validity of up to one year to the following categories of citizens:

  • members of official delegations;
  • business people and representatives of business organisations;
  • drivers conducting international cargo and passenger transportation services;
  • members of train, refrigerator and locomotive crews in international trains;
  • persons participating in scientific, cultural and artistic activities, including university and other exchange programmes;
  • participants in international sports events and persons accompanying them in a professional capacity;
  • journalists;
  • participants in official exchange programmes organised by twin cities.

Multiple-entry visas with the term of validity of a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 5 years shall be issued to the above mentioned categories of citizens, provided that they have made use of the one year multiple-entry visas in accordance with the laws on entry and stay in the territory of the visited State and that the reasons for requesting a multiple-entry visa are still valid.

Holders of diplomatic passports are exempted from the visa requirement for short stays.

Full text of the EU-Russia agreement on Visa facilitation

Last updated: 10 October 2014

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