One Step Closer to Easier Travel as EU Signs Readmission Agreement with Azerbaijan

The EU and Azerbaijan today signed an agreement on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation. The agreement is a part of a wider package including a visa facilitation agreement with Azerbaijan, signed in November 2013, which is paving the way for easier travel and people-to-people contacts between the EU and Azerbaijan.

A press release from the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan said both the EU and Azerbaijan welcomed the signing of the documents and looked forward to their speedy ratification and entry into force.

It is expected that both the Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements will enter into force in the second half of 2014.

“The signature of the readmission agreement is a very concrete step forward in strengthening and deepening EU-Azerbaijani relations. Together with the visa facilitation agreement this agreement is of great importance for both sides and will strengthen our cooperation in the field of mobility and the fight against irregular migration,” said Head of EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Malena Mard.

The Visa Facilitation Agreement will make it easier, cheaper and quicker for citizens of the EU and Azerbaijan to obtain short stay visas and cover simplified procedures for processing short-stay visas i.e. for intended stays of no more than 90 days in a 180-day period for the Schengen area.

It brings very concrete benefits to all visa applicants: a 10-day deadline for the processing of visa applications will be set and the visa fee will be reduced from €60 to €35. Certain categories of applicants will even benefit from free visas, for instance members of official delegations, students, journalists, children, pensioners, disabled persons, participants of scientific, cultural, artistic activities as well as sport events. The application process will be easier for many categories of citizens (close relatives, students, persons travelling for medical reasons, representatives of civil society organisations, official delegations, business people, journalists and so forth) who will have to present fewer documents to justify their purpose of travel. For some categories of persons the agreement specifies also the criteria for issuing multiply-entry visas valid from one to up to five years.

The Readmission Agreement sets out clear obligations and procedures for the authorities of both Azerbaijan and the respective EU Member State as to when and how to take back people who are illegally residing on their territories. These obligations cover nationals from Azerbaijan, the EU Member States and those from third countries and stateless persons, provided the latter two have a clear link with the requested state (e.g. visa or resident permit), or transited through the territory of the state before travelling directly to the other party’s territory. Full respect of Human Rights as provided by the European Convention of Human Rights will be guaranteed during application of the Readmission Agreement.

Source: enpi-info.eu

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