Obtaining Schengen Visa Easier for Armenians After Visa Regime Facilitation Agreement Says Expert

The agreement on facilitation of visa regime has really made it easier for Armenian citizens to obtain a Schengen visa, head of Analytical Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation political analyst Stepan Grigorian said on the air on Sputnik-Armenia radio channel.

Grigoryan said they carried out a monitoring in six consular offices in Armenia as of the end of the first half of 2014 and tried to see whether or not the opportunities provided by the agreement are used.

“I should say there are changes, but it is a long-lasting process linked to increase of technical capacities in consular offices”, Grigoryan said.

The visa regime simplification agreement was approved by the European Parliament on October 9, 2013, and ratified by the parliament of Armenia on November 11, 2013. The agreement is in force as from January 1, 2014.

Under the agreement, Armenian citizens face fewer hurdles to travel to the EU for short stays. The EU-Armenia visa facilitation agreement aims to facilitate the issue of short-stay visas for an intended stay of no more than 90 days per period of 180 days.

The new rules make the procedures quicker (the decision will have to be taken within 10 days, in urgent cases two days or less), cheaper (the visa fee for processing applications of Armenian citizens shall amount to 35 €) and less bureaucratic (the documents to be presented regarding the purpose of the journey have been simplified for some categories of persons, in particular for close relatives, members of official delegations, students, business people, journalists, scientists, etc).

There are also simplified criteria for issuing multiple-entry visas. Armenian citizens who are holders of diplomatic passports are exempted from the visa requirement for short stays. Armenia exempted all EU citizens from the visa obligation since 10 January 2013.

According to the agreement, citizens of Armenia have the right to demand written explanations from consular departments of EU member states why their visas were denied.

Yet, Grigorian said, the percentage of denials has remained practically the same from the last year as the agreement has been just coming to reality. Apart from this, Armenian citizens show lack of attention in preparing documents, he said.

“I am convinced that if a person fills in the documents in a proper manner and has a confirmed invitation, the probability of getting visa is almost 100%”, Grigoryan said.

Armenian citizens’ Schengen visa applications were denied in about 11.5% of cases in 2013.

* Dr. Stepan Grigoryan is the Chairman of the Board at the Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation (ACGRC)

Source: arka.am

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