After publishing its first guidelines to help member states’ consulates process short-stay visa applications from Russian citizens, the Commission updated these guidelines on September 30.
They call for a higher level of control for the issuance of visas to Russian applicants. Member States are asked to assess the conditions for issuing visas in a restrictive and coordinated manner. In essence, applications for long-stay visas should be processed under the national rules applicable to long stays. On the other hand, for short-stay visa applications, consulates are requested to consider any humanitarian derogation in a restrictive manner.
In addition, Member States have the possibility to ask their consulates and border guards to re-evaluate in a restrictive and increased way the visas already granted to Russian citizens according to the evolution of the geopolitical context.
It should be remembered that these guidelines are not binding and that each member state can decide whether or not to apply them.
“The recent escalation of the war in [that country], including military mobilization and mock referendums, has led to an increase in the number of citizens, including conscripts and their family members, fleeing the Russian Federation,” says the Commission, which wants a higher level of security checks.
Strict control in issuing visas to Russians
Regarding visa applications, the Commission now believes that member states should apply a strict approach to assessing the justification for travel and in particular with regard to Russian citizens fleeing military mobilization. If a visa applicant (e.g. a person fleeing military mobilization) is planning a long-term stay in the EU, consulates should treat the situation in accordance with national rules on long-stay visas. For short-stay visa applications, consulates are requested to apply any humanitarian derogation in a restrictive manner. It is thus up to the Member States, on the basis of an individual examination, to assess whether applications from Russian citizens can be considered as falling under the category of humanitarian reasons. In case of an application for a short-stay visa from outside Russia, the Commission invites Member States to refer the file to the competent consulate of the applicant’s place of residence, in principle in the Russian Federation.
LexCase French Immigration Advisors, Immigration Attorneys, Paris, France