What is the change?  The European Union’s visa-free travel agreement with Ukraine is set to enter into force this weekend.

What does the change mean? Effective Sunday, Ukrainian nationals who hold biometric passports will be able to travel visa-free to Schengen Area countries for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

  • Implementation time frame: June 11.
  • Visas/permits affected: Schengen visa waivers.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of Ukraine traveling to the Schengen Area.
  • Business impact: The visa exemption will ease business travel and could promote closer ties between Ukraine and the EU.

Background: The European Parliament approved the visa waiver for Ukraine in April and the agreement was subsequently finalized. The change will allow Ukrainians to travel without a visa to the Schengen Area for up to 90 days in a 180-day period for business, tourism or family visits, but not for work.

The Parliament’s vote followed a European Commission recommendation to add Ukraine to the list of countries eligible for a Schengen visa waiver after determining that Ukraine had met key benchmarks on legal and political reforms. Negotiations over the visa waiver had been ongoing since 2008.

BAL Analysis: The waiver will benefit Ukrainians traveling to the EU (excluding Ireland and the U.K.) and ease consular visa processing. Ukrainian nationals should anticipate high demand for biometric passports and apply early. Travelers are reminded that a 90-day stay is calculated within a rolling 180-day period and, if not counted properly, can lead to overstays.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network partner in Ukraine. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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