Russia, EU agree on five-year visas

Russia and the European Union have reached an agreement on long-term visas, for up to five years, a Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday.

“In addition to a visa-free regime with the EU, we are also negotiating visa facilitation,” said Vladimir Voronkov, director of the ministry’s European Cooperation Department.

The EU currently issues short-term visas – from several days to one year, although the Schengen Agreement allows five-year visas, he said.

Five-year visas will not be issued immediately but only after a person has received a short-term visa and shown himself to be a responsible, law-abiding citizen, Voronkov said. Russia has no plans to scrap visa requirements unilaterally, he added.