YEREVAN, May 26. / ARKA /. Armenian citizens should actively use the agreement on simplification of visa regime with the EU, said Irina Sushko, head of the civil initiative "Europe without Barriers."
"Free movement is a fundamental human right. The EU offers Armenia serious preferences in obtaining visas, but the signing of the agreement is only the first step, " Sushko said to Armenian journalists on Monday.
Under the agreement ratified by Armenian parliament last November, 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
“Citizens of Armenia should also know that they have the right to demand written explanations from consular departments of EU member states why their visas were denied. This will ensure that there is no discrimination, as well as enable to analyze the causes of the denial and to prepare for the process of obtaining a visa next time," she said. -0-