Georgians and Ukrainians may soon travel visa-free to the countries within the Schengen zone. The European Union approved visa liberalization for Georgia at the beginning of February, and the new law could grant Georgians visa-free travel within the EU by the end of March 2017. Ukraine, on the other hand, will have to wait for visa-free benefits within the EU until June. In the meanwhile, Ukrainians can travel without the need for a visa to Turkey, as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin reached an agreement on Friday, February 10, 2017:
“We want to increase number of mutual visits and tourists. We want more contacts between peoples. That is why we have completed preparations for Turkish and Ukrainian citizens to visit the countries by only showing their national identities without the need for passports,” minister Cavusoglu told the press.
Holders of biometric passports will soon be able to enter the Schengen Area for 90 days within any 180-day period for holiday, business and other purposes except work.
The visa-suspension mechanism for Georgia and Ukraine was approved as early as December 2016, but the diplomatic vote of the European Parliament was only announced last week. According to the new rules, citizens of both countries will travel unrestricted by visa requirements to the 26 countries of the Schengen area: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. These states still need to agree on the decision of the European Parliament for the two countries by the end of February. Visa waivers for Georgia and Ukraine do not apply to enter the following EU countries: Ireland, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania, and Bulgaria.
Armenia, Belarus, and Azerbaijan are the next Eastern European countries waiting for visa-free travel to the EU and the Schengen zone.