In a significant move, the Swiss authorities have introduced new regulations that restrict individuals from Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine and breakaway regions in Georgia from obtaining Schengen visas and crossing the external Schengen border with travel documents issued by Russian authorities. This decision, announced by the Federal Council of Switzerland, comes into effect as of August 16, 2023. The decision reflects the international community’s stance on the territorial disputes and aims to address the complexities surrounding travel and documentation in these regions.
New Regulation and Restrictions
The Federal Council of Switzerland stated that individuals hailing from the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine and the breakaway regions of Georgia are now prohibited from obtaining Schengen visas and using travel documents issued by Russia to cross external Schengen borders. The official adoption of this regulation on August 16, 2023, underscores the Swiss commitment to regional stability and adherence to international norms.
The statement issued by the Federal Council emphasizes that ordinary and diplomatic passports, return certificates, seafarers’ identity cards, and residence permits for stateless persons issued by Russian authorities will not be recognized.
Specifics for Ukraine and Georgia
Regarding Ukraine, the Federal Council has outlined different cutoff dates for acceptance of Russian-issued travel documents based on the regions in question. This approach aims to align with the evolving situation in Ukraine and underscores the nuanced approach Switzerland is taking towards this matter.
For Georgia, the Swiss Federal Council has highlighted a specific timeline for non-acceptance. Travel documents issued by Russia to residents of the breakaway Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after August 26, 2008, will not be accepted for the purpose of obtaining a Schengen visa.
Switzerland’s new regulations concerning Schengen visa restrictions for individuals from Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine and breakaway regions in Georgia demonstrate the country’s commitment to international standards and regional stability. The decision underscores the complexities surrounding the recognition of travel documents issued by certain authorities in these disputed areas. This move aligns Switzerland with the international community’s efforts to address territorial disputes and travel-related matters in a comprehensive and responsible manner.