Visa-free travel: EU launches travel authorisation system for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine from 2024
From 2024, nationals of all 59 countries across the world that enjoy visa-free travel to the EU, including Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, will be required to obtain ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) travel authorisation. This is a new requirement introduced by the European Union to enter any of the 27 Schengen countries, Bulgaria, Romania, or Cyprus.
ETIAS is an online travel authorisation, not a visa.
With a valid ETIAS travel authorisation, you will be able to stay in any of the 30 European countries for 90 days in any 180-day period.
To apply for ETIAS you must have a passport valid for more than 3 months, provide an email address, complete the online form and pay a fee of €7.
There is only one official ETIAS website: europa.eu/etias. The application form will be made available on this website once the system is launched.
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Irakli Garibashvili: Five years have passed since the enactment of EU visa-free travel; Government worked hard toward this goal, and I want to thank everyone who contributed to this achievementMonday, 28 March 2022 15:23
Five years have passed since the enactment of EU visa-free travel; the Government worked hard toward this goal, and I want to thank everyone who contributed to this achievement, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated during today's Cabinet meeting.
According to the Prime Minister, more than 500,000 Georgian citizens have made over 1.5 million trips to EU member states, a tangible result since the signing of the Association Agreement.
"Today marks five years have passed since the enactment of EU visa-free travel. I congratulate everyone on this important date. As you know, we worked hard toward this goal, and I want to thank everyone who contributed to this achievement. Let me remind our population that we launched this process in 2013, when we received a visa-free travel action plan. The Government worked tirelessly to finalize this effort in December 2015. The EU accepted our work as satisfactory and, in about a year, visa requirements were lifted to enable our citizens to enjoy visa-free travel to EU member states. Let me also remind our population that, over these five years, more than 500,000 Georgian citizens have made over 1.5 million trips to EU member states, a tangible result since the signing of the Association Agreement," the Prime Minister said.
Press Service of the Government Administration
On 11 June, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini congratulated Ukrainians on the occasion of the entry into force of the visa liberalisation agreement between the EU and Ukraine. “Today, we bring down a barrier between the people of Ukraine and the people of the European Union. No more visa for short trips between our countries,” said Mogherini in her video speech.
“We made it, and we made it together”, Mogherini continued, addressing Ukrainian citizens. “Ukraine has delivered the reforms its citizens were asking for. And we, in the European Union, we have kept our promise. This is what we call a win-win solution. It will create new opportunities for all of us, strengthening our economies, our security and our friendship. This is what our partnership is all about: making a difference to our citizens’ everyday lives.”
Approved by the Council in May, the agreement provides for visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports travelling to the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This may be for tourism, to visit relatives or friends, or for business purposes, but not to work. The exemption applies to all EU countries, except Ireland and the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
On March 28, in the company of students, I will travel to Athens, an ancient capital of European civilization, followed by Brussels, Europe's political capital, to celebrate visa waiver for Georgia, a crucially important event, and to thank our partners, the Prime Minister of Georgia stated today before the Government meeting. Giorgi Kvirikashvili once again commented on the importance of visa-free travel for Georgian citizens in the EU/Schengen Area. According to him, three-day celebrations are also planned throughout the country.
"Visa-free travel to EU member states will come into force in a few days. On March 28, visa waiver for Georgian citizens traveling to EU/Schengen Area countries will be introduced. As you know, the EU has finalized all relevant legal procedures. Importantly, we will hold special events on March 26, 27, and 28, to celebrate this achievement throughout the country," Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated.
Hopes in Georgia, Ukraine and Kosovo that the European Union would approve their visa-free access to the bloc by the summer have faded in recent days amid a raft of new concerns raised by the bloc’s biggest member states. The issues range from German concerns about organized crime by Georgian gangs to worries in France that the visa deals could create new security vulnerabilities at a time of heightened terror fears.
EU officials and diplomats now say that September appears to be the earliest date that EU governments and the European Parliament could sign off the agreements. The deal would give millions of citizens from these countries who hold biometric passports visa-free access to the border-free Schengen zone covering most EU nations. The U.K. and Ireland are outside Schengen.
For the bloc, the visa-free regimes are a key tool for binding their neighbors closer and for advancing reforms in those countries. Delays could deplete pro-western forces in countries like Georgia and Ukraine, who are struggling with their hostile Russian neighbor.
In recent months, the European Commission, the EU’s executive, has recommended visa-free status for Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo andTurkey. The latter’s bid has already been put on the back burner with EU and Turkish officials now targeting an October deal as Ankara completes several final tasks.The other three countries’ bids were expected to move rapidly. On Wednesday, however, ambassadors from the EU’s 28 nations failed to gather enough support to back Georgia’s bid.
Georgia has been waiting for a decision on its visa-free regime since December. But in recent days, German officials have argued that Berlin’s backing for a deal is contingent on more efforts to stamp out Georgian organized crime gangs that German authorities blame for a spate of house robberies, German and EU officials say. On Wednesday, Berlin asked the commission to report on Georgian crime gangs across the bloc, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Other countries have also slowed down approval. Italy and France have said a decision should await the approval of new rules which will make it easier to suspend visa-free regimes in case of abuse. The European Parliament is only expected to formally back the changes in September.
Diplomats say there are some EU governments who want to hold up any decisions on Georgia, Ukraine and Kosovo until they consider Turkey’s visa-free application.
That has created growing concerns in Kiev, Tbilisi and Pristina. “Brussels literally has no more reasons to delay,” Kosovo’s PresidentHashim Thaci told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, saying his government will complete its final visa-linked task before the summer by pushing through parliament a border agreement with Montenegro. Mr. Thaci said he doesn’t want to interfere in decisions by the EU governments but that he hoped Kosovo’s bid would win backing within three-to-six months of the commission’s May recommendation.
“Kosovo should not be held hostage to any disagreements between—in this case Brussels and Ankara. We have done our homework,” he said.
Georgia’s government was hoping the visa-free bid would boost pro-European parties ahead of elections in October. During a visit to Brussels on Wednesday, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvilimade only a brief public mention of the issue but a senior EU official said he lobbied hard for the visa-free bid in meetings with top officials.\
There are similar concerns in Ukraine, where President Petro Poroshenko has placed the issue high up his agenda since last year. The commission recommended Ukraine’s visa-free bid in April./
source: wall street journal