EU-Azerbaijan visa facilitation enters into force

EU-Azerbaijan visa facilitation enters into force

The EU-Azerbaijan Visa Facilitation and Readmission agreements entered into force today, 1 September. The agreement makes it easier and cheaper for citizens of Azerbaijan, in particular those who travel most, to acquire short-stay visas, allowing them to travel to and freely throughout most EU countries.

Under the agreement, visa fees will be reduced from €60 to €35, and some categories of citizens are to be exempt from the fees altogether. For some categories of frequent travellers and under certain conditions, member states are supposed to issue multiple-entry visas with a validity from one to up to five years. Holders of diplomatic passports are exempted from the visa obligation. The agreement also provides that the visa handling fee will not be collected for certain categories of applicants, including members of official delegations, children below the age of 12, pensioners, researchers and students.

The Readmission agreements set out clear obligations and procedures for the authorities of EU member states and Azerbaijan. They regulate when and how to take back people who are illegally residing on the territories of the parties. They cover not only the illegally staying nationals of both parties but also third country nationals and stateless persons being in an irregular situation provided they have a clear link with the requested party (e.g. visa or resident permit).

The negotiations for both agreements took place between the EU and Azerbaijan in four official rounds of negotiations held in Baku and Brussels between February 2012 and July 2013. On 29 November 2013, the EU and Azerbaijan signed the visa facilitation agreement in the margins of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, and on 28 February 2014 the EU and Azerbaijan signed the agreement on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation.

The UK, Ireland and Denmark are not bound by the agreement.

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