Switzerland Suspends Visa Facilitation Agreements with Russia

At its meeting on 16 September 2022, the Federal Council decided to completely suspend the visa facilitation agreement that Switzerland has concluded with Russia. As a result, Russian nationals who want a visa are once again subject to the ordinary procedure. The Federal Council is thus aligning itself with the decision of the European Union, thereby contributing to the uniformity of visa policy at European level.

 

Given that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in violation of international law continues, the European Union (EU) decided on 9 September 2022 to completely suspend its agreement with the Russian Federation aimed at facilitating the issuance of visas. At its meeting on September 16, 2022, the Federal Council also decided to suspend the agreement that Switzerland has concluded with Russia. Switzerland had already lifted the facilitations for obtaining visas for certain categories of people, such as Russian businessmen and women, as well as the exemption from the visa requirement for Russian diplomats. The Federal Council then also followed an EU decision.

Switzerland has every interest in contributing to a common and uniform visa policy at European level, otherwise it would risk being faced with an increase in the number of visa applications submitted to its representations abroad by nationals Russians seeking to circumvent EU decisions.

Consequences of suspension

In 2009, Switzerland and the Russian Federation signed an agreement to facilitate the issuance of visas to their nationals. This agreement provides for a simplified visa procedure for certain categories of persons or journeys, as well as a reduction or elimination of related fees. The Federal Council has just decided to completely suspend this agreement.

However, it is not a question of imposing a general visa ban on Russian nationals, but of applying to them again the ordinary procedure, that is to say the rules of the visa code.

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