Sometime during the autumn, giving time for the bureaucrats to do what bureaucrats do within the nations of Poland and Ukraine, the fees for long term Visas for citizens of both nations visiting the other will be abolished.
That agreement was reached between Poland and Ukraine on 13th June, and thus Poland joins Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia in such agreements with Ukraine.
There is a but though. There is a limit to the length of the long term visas to which this gratis system applies. The fees are exempted for those visas longer than 3 months but no longer than 1 year. No different to the existing agreements with Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia.
For all EU members, there is no requirement for a visa to enter Ukraine for less than 90 days (within a 180 day period) anyway. As yet not the same for Ukrainians going the other way due to Ukraine’s inability to pass the required laws on biometric passports and the storage of personal data held therein, frustrating the roadmap to visa-free travel with the EU and delaying the second phase of a few years worth of assessment once phase one, the legal phase, has been implemented.
The 2015 goal for visa-free with the EU, set by the Ukrainian government, looks likely to be 2017 due to its own inability to legislate for biometrics and data storage rather than any issues created by the EU. Needless to say, the legislative issue could be easily overcome if it were not for the business interests of those seeking to produce the biometric passports and their friends in the RADA lobbying on their behalf. – Typical – However quite what the EU will look like by then is also open to interpretation with the European Parliament at loggerheads with the European Council over the reintroduction of border checks and the slow erosion of the Schengen visa system.
Anyway whilst the grand visa-free plan is locked within internal Ukrainian business conflict rather than political rejection, side-deals with immediate neighbours, designed to at the very least make matters a little easier and far less costly, seem to be continuing apace.
Some progress is better than none, and to be fair, even when visa-free is eventually sorted out between the EU and Ukraine, that only applies to travel and remaining within the EU for less than 90 days in 180 period. This deal with Poland, just as with Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia, is for those who need to remain more than 90 days and simply removes the fees from the visa application process for those from either nation in the bilateral agreements.
No bad thing for business people in the region, as long term visas aren’t particularly cheap (and require a lot of administrative preparation).