Results of the first 100 days of visa-free travel to Europe: 10% increase of visits by Ukrainian citizens
On June 11, 2017, Ukrainian citizens were granted visa-free travel to the European Union countries (except for the United Kingdom and Ireland) as well as to four Schengen states – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The entry into force of the visa-free regime became possible due to the consistent implementation by Ukraine of all the criteria specified in the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan.
- Posted on: Sep 19, 2017
Tags: Policy support
The launch of the visa-free regime is the one of the steps that are bringing Ukraine and the EU closer together. In July, the ratification of the Association Agreement was completed; on September 1, it entered into force; and lately procedures were completed for granting Ukraine new trade opportunities.
The first three months of visa-free travel produced impressive results. According to the State Border Service of Ukraine, 5,799,360 citizens of Ukraine (as of September 11, 2017 entered the EU during three months after the entry into force of the visa-free regime.
Out of these, 1,413,178 persons travelled with biometric passports, including 235,795 persons without visas (i.e. 87% of people with biometric passports travelled with visas, and 17% fully benefited from all the opportunities of visa-free travel).
According to the same statistics, the number of trips made by Ukrainians to the EU countries during the three summer months of 2017 increased by 10% compared to the same three months of 2016.
Only 61 Ukrainian nationals have been refused entry to the EU during the visa-free travel period – that is, 0.026% of the total number of visa-free travellers. The main reasons for entry denial included exceeding the duration of stay in the EU during previous trips and lack of documents confirming the purpose and conditions of stay in the EU.
During the first 100 days of visa-free travel between Ukraine and the EU, the EU-funded "Open Europe" campaign website www.openeurope.in.ua was visited by 410,000 people. The website provides detailed explanations of the rules and possibilities of visa-free travel – the role of the biometric passport, rules for crossing the border, the duration of stay in the EU, opportunities for tourism, short-term training, and business development.
The Ukrainian government institutions supporting this initiative include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Information Policy, the Ministry of Healthcare, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Ministry of Regional Development, the State Border Service of Ukraine, the State Migration Service of Ukraine and the office of the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. Representatives of business that contributed to the project include mobile operators Lifecell, Ukrtelecom, Kyivstar and Vodafone, as well as representatives from banking and insurance.
The success of the visa-free regime is, above all, the success of tens of millions of Ukrainians who have chosen to express their European choice and aspirations. Long-term success indicators for visa-free travel will become one of the key steps towards closer political association and economic integration with the EU.
For more information about the EU programmes and initiatives in Ukraine, please access the website and Facebook page of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine.
Background Information: The communication campaign Open Europe is aimed at informing Ukrainians about the rules and benefits of visa free travel to the EU. The campaign is funded by the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine and implemented by the German company GOPA Com, member of GOPA Worldwide Consultants (Gesellschaft für Organisation, Planung und Ausbildung), in partnership with Change Communication (Ukraine).
Visa-free travel for citizens of Ukraine with biometric passports came into force on June 11, 2017 to all EU countries (except for the UK and Ireland), as well as to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.