Duration of visa processing procedures The exploratory phase of the EU-Ukraine visa dialogue, which began in October 2008, allowed for an initial assessment of the relevant factors of the long-term objective of visa liberalisation. Between December 2008 and May 2009, a first meeting of experts was held on the four relevant factors mentioned in the mandate conditions of the dialogue: the security of documents, including biometrics; illegal immigration, including readmission; Public order and security; External relations. These meetings were an opportunity to exchange information on the legislation and administrative practices of Ukraine, the EU Member States and the EU as a whole in these areas. A new round of expert meetings, including on-site visits, took place in October and November 2009. Its detailed analysis and assessment was intended to establish a clear assessment of the situation in each bloc, which made it possible to make recommendations to define the methodology for the development of the conditions for the introduction of the visa exemption for Ukrainian citizens bound for the EU. The pace of visa liberalisation will depend on Ukraine`s progress in meeting the conditions. Therefore, there will be no automatic system and progress in implementing the various benchmarks will be subject to in-depth review and decision-making by the Commission and the Council. Full compliance with the first benchmarks will be thoroughly reviewed by the Commission and the Council before a decision is taken to launch the evaluation of the second set of benchmarks. On 16 April, the European Parliament will debate a resolution on the agreement on the facilitation of visa issuance between the EU and Ukraine, which Parliament will vote on the following day. The European Parliament`s draft resolution proposes that the European Parliament support this agreement.
At the EU-Ukraine JLS ministerial meeting on 9 June 2010, the parties agreed to begin a fully operational visa dialogue phase, based on an action plan defining all the technical conditions that Ukraine should meet before the possible introduction of a visa-free regime. Subject to national rules and regulations relating to the national security of Member States and subject to EU rules on visas with limited territorial validity, Ukrainian citizens have the right to travel on an equal footing with EU citizens. 3. In an emergency, the time to decide on a visa application can be reduced to two working days or less. We support and encourage the visa facilitation agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, as we believe it will benefit from greater openness and opportunities for Ukrainian citizens. However, by strengthening its relations with the EU, Ukraine must demonstrate its willingness to respect human rights obligations. Support for the visa facilitation agreement at this stage will send a bad political signal. That is why we encourage the European Parliament to postpone the vote and give Ukraine the opportunity to improve human rights and abandon current initiatives which, in fact, would criminalise the work of LGBTI human rights defenders and seriously limit freedom of expression. 1.2. First impact analysis of a possible future liberalisation of the visa regime 4. This agreement may be amended by the written agreement of the parties.
The amendments come into effect after the parties have informed each other of the completion of their internal procedures necessary for this purpose. In particular, Ukrainian journalists can apply for visas with their employer sent back to Ukraine, instead of submitting an invitation from the EU host society. In addition, members of the media technical team (cameramen, editors, etc.) will also be subject to a simplified visa procedure.