Posted on 02.08.2011 in Featured, News, Ukraine

2.08.2011: Alarming practices of consular services in Ukraine.

Polish journal Gazeta Wyborcza reports that Ukrainian citizens travelling to EU countries face singular requirements in some consulates.

Svietlana Cybulska, an employee of a major Ukrainian company, had visited the EU on numerous occasions, but when she applied for a tourist visa with her new passport, the Greek consul became suddenly suspicious. He explained that with the brand new document he had no way of verifying her visa story and demanded that she presented herself in the consulate when she returns – to get a stamp in the passport. Otherwise, she might have problems with obtaining a Schengen visa in future.
There are accounts of Ukrainian citizens claiming that when applying for a Schengen visa, they are required to leave their ID or a notarial deed certifying ownership of their apartment as a sort of safety deposit. According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry such a procedure is against Ukrainian law and the Ministry intends to formally ask the EU states whether they indeed apply this requirement.

Iryna Sushko, head of Europe without Barriers (an NGO which belongs to the Coalition for the European Continent Undivided by Visa Barriers ), told GW that Greece is not the only country to continue this unfair and troublesome practices, similar requirements are presented by France, Spain, Austria and Finland. The necessity to visit the consulate after returning to the country is not only time-consuming and often costly, especially when it requires going to another city. It also evokes the worst kind of associations with totalitarian rule and is simply humiliating, explains Joanna Fomina from the Stefan Batory Foundation.

Photo by Janek Brykczyński
Photo by Janek Brykczyński

Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski asked about the stamps by Ukrainian journalists replied that this procedure is not a violation of human rights and each EU Member State has the right to execute its sovereign visa policy. However, despite rumours in Ukraine, according to official statement Poland is not planning to introduce such practices and still supports visa liberalisation for Ukraine, as evidenced by highest in the EU number of visas issued to Ukrainian citizens. Minister Sikorski expressed his sympathy and mentioned that Poles wishing to visit the US face similar visa difficulties.

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza