On May 11, 2017 the European Union and European Council representatives approved the request of Ukraine for visa-free travel. They have signed the document in Strasbourg, which means that Ukrainians can now travel to EU Member States without a visa for short stays.
This has been deemed as a landmark in the history of Ukraine since the approval was long awaited. It was first assumed that the EU would approve visa-free travel for both Georgia and Ukraine simultaneously, but they decided to separate the two countries. Georgia was granted visa free travel on March 28, 2017. With the approval for Ukraine signed on May 11, Ukrainian citizens will be able to travel to EU Member states without a visa starting from June 11.
From 11 June, 2017 Ukrainian citizens holding biometric passports can travel to the Schengen Zone without a visa for a period of 90 days within any 180-day period for purposes other than working.
They are also allowed to visit the four countries which are not part of the Schengen zone such as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. However, since the United Kingdom and Ireland have different policies, Ukrainian citizens will have to undergo different procedures in order to qualify for short visits in these countries. Also, any stay for longer than 90 days will require a visa.
This policy has strengthened the relations between Ukraine and the European Union, and is considered as a welcome from the EU for Ukraine. The country has long been under the Russian regime and is now moving farther away from the Soviet Union. Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenku expressed his joy for this policy in the media by congratulating the 45 million Ukrainians whose travel is now free from long visa procedures and expressing gratitude to the European Union.
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